Psalm 18:11,12,16 – He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. He sent from above, he took me, and drew me out of many waters. (KJV)
When I was little, one of our favourite songs, especially around the campfire, was Home on the Range. Even when one couldn't remember each verse, cups of cocoa or coffee in hand, bodies swaying, the words of the chorus were belted out with great fervour:
- Hoooome, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope plaaaay,
Where seldom is hearrrrd, a discouraging worrrrd,
And the skiiiies are not cloudy all daaaay.
We might like to think that one's life would be so very wonderful were we to not have any clouds in our lives and like the song, n'er a discouraging word heard, with cloudless skies all day. It would, however, be rather boring, unchallenging, and certainly leave us with little to experience.
We've had several beautiful clear blue skies lately, and as I marvelled at the endless miles of seemingly clear sky, I also remembered lying on the ground as a child and making shapes out of the clouds — just as the clouds in our lives can take shape when they are given to God. If we allow Him to take hold, and if we listen to His direction, we begin to see more clearly.
Due to a labour dispute, one such experience this summer involved whether or not to try finding a new venue for a wedding reception of over 200 guests — in under 48 hours. After praying for direction, the answer to do so became so very clear, and the end result was far beyond what we could ever have hoped for. Had we not been under that cloud, or had it been removed, the event would most likely not have been as memorable.
Prayer: We look to you, O Lord, for direction and for guidance, especially in those times when it may seem that you are working against us, when our days are dark and cloudy. Grant us the strength and grace to trust in you that all things work for the good. In your name we pray. Amen.