PRINCIPLE: “When the clouds spoil your view, give thanks for what you cannot see.”
We had just spent our first night in the mountain cabin. I was anxious to look outside and catch the majestic morning view of the mountains. What a disappointment – the clouds enshrouded the mountains; fog and mist was all I could see. So I spent the rest of the morning taking periodic looks up towards the mountains.
But why would I do that? What made me keep looking? I believed the mountains were still there, that behind all the clouds was a glorious scene, that at some point the clouds would disappear and everything would be clear. And while the clarity didn’t come fully until the next day, it did come. And it was worth the wait.
It led me to think of some other clouds. There was the cloud that led the Israelites through the wilderness; they could not see God but believed He was there, leading them to the Promised Land. God appeared to Moses in a dense cloud; Moses could not see God but heard Him as He spoke the 10 commandments. There was a cloud over the tabernacle; the people could not see God but they knew He was present there in all His glory. Jesus was on the mountain with Peter, James, and John when Jesus was transfigured into glory; then a cloud enveloped them and, while they could not see Him, God spoke clear words of affirmation. Paul, even though he couldn’t see the Lord in the clouds, wrote (1Thessalonians 4:17) that there will be a resurrection of the dead where we will be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord.
I realize now that I should not have been disappointed in the clouds. In fact, “When the clouds spoil your view, give thanks for what you cannot see.” It should have been a time for me to give thanks to God for His ongoing eternal presence – not only in the world around me but in my life. There will often be clouds in the sky of my life. Some of those clouds will be thick and dark; it will be easy to be disappointed, even worried or depressed. But behind the clouds, even in the clouds, God is present. “When the clouds spoil your view, give thanks for what you cannot see.” Clouds always present the opportunity to give thanks to God. As Hebrews 11:1 wonderfully states (CEV), “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.” The Message says that faith is “our handle on what we can’t see.” Clouds remind us of the value and importance of faith – for faith “gives substance to our hopes and convinces us of realities we do not see.”
I’m reminded of the powerful testimony of the Heidelberg Catechism:
Question 27 : What do you understand by the providence of God?
The almighty and ever-present power of God whereby he still upholds, as it were by his own hand, heaven and earth together with all creatures, and rules in such a way that leaves and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and unfruitful years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, and everything else, come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand.
Question 28 : What advantage comes from acknowledging God’s creation and providence?
We learn that we are to be patient in adversity, grateful in the midst of blessing, and to trust our faithful God and Father for the future, assured that no creature shall separate us from his love, since all creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they cannot even move.
Whatever the clouds that are blocking your view, “When the clouds spoil your view, give thanks for what you cannot see.”