Lately, I’ve been thinking about clouds. Not the ones in the sky, the ones that roll into our lives and hover over us in the difficult circumstances of life. Maybe for you, the clouds came in a job loss, an unexpected health issue, or a death of a loved one. For me, the clouds appeared in a long struggle with infertility, a sudden family uproot from our home in a small town in Kentucky to the big, unfamiliar city of Houston, and most recently feeling like a single mom. With my husband traveling a lot for work, I feel the weight and burden of taking care of a home and three children all alone.
Regardless of the circumstances, clouds dark, heavy, and low set in, and it’s as though we are lost in a wet, misty fog, fumbling our way around in the dark. It seems that the darker our circumstances are, the darker the clouds. The lower they hang, the lower our spirits become. They block our sunshine, and we can no longer see clearly God’s chosen path for us, and more importantly God. Before we know it, we are lost and afraid, desperate for clarity, trying with all our might to run from the clouds.
But God reminded me of a powerful truth in His word that has forever changed my perspective of clouds.
Numbers 9: 16-18, 21
16 This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. 18 In this way, they traveled and camped at the Lord’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle.
21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on.
1 Kings 8: 12-13
12 Then Solomon prayed, “O Lord, you have said that you would live in a thick cloud of darkness. 13 Now I have built a glorious Temple for you, a place where you can live forever![a]”
Although the cloud lifted and moved, the Israelites made sure to keep it in view, knowing it was their guidance and protection. Oh, sweet friend, we should not run from the clouds, but should follow them, even welcome them. Welcome the clouds, welcome God! God is ever so near, when the clouds of confusion appear. Like the temple Solomon built, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are the temple of God. He hovers over us, filling us completely, as He did the temple, with His Spirit.
When you are confused and unsure of your next steps, know that it’s not clouds that are hovering over you, it’s God. He’s keeping you from running too far ahead of Him. He’s the One who is supposed to go before you, and keep you from chasing after your own desires, leading you down the right path, keeping you there as long as needed, until you see clearly His truths in your life. Clouds are God’s gifts of clarity, not confusion.
Oh, what a comfort it is to know that we don’t have to fumble our away around in the darkness, because we have an awesome God who knows His way around in the dark. He burns like fire to light the way, holding us by the hand; leading us safely night and day.
So when the clouds roll in, don’t let them get you down. Instead, lift songs of praise up to your heavenly Father, because He is so very near. Stay still and safe in His hovering presence, and when He says, “move”, be ready to move!