Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Billowing clouds?

Big talkers - do you know any?  They kind of paint a picture beyond what we imagine possible, but the "picture" never really materializes.  What do they do with their "big words"?  They build up hope, don't they?  At least until you have been "burned" a few times by the "hollowness" of their words!

Like billowing clouds that bring no rain is the person who talks big but never produces.  (Proverbs 25:14 The Message)

I live in Arizona, so I am used to seeing big clouds, but no promise of rain!  The "look" of the clouds may indicate a "chance" of showers, but in reality, much less will be produced than what was promised in the "chance".  By definition, when we "produce" something, there is a creative power behind what it is that is being brought forth.  In the truest sense - there is only ONE 

A billowing cloud is all puffed up - it has all the appearances of being a rain cloud, but in reality, it is just a puffy mass of empty fluff!  In the New Living Translation, our verse appears as:  A person who promises a gift, but doesn't give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.  Big talk and promises without substance are about the same thing - both end in emptiness.  

What is a promise?  Isn't it the expectation of something being done or provided?  In the simplest sense - a promise builds expectation - it gives hope.  If we have been in the situation of our "hopes" being built-up often enough by the "promise" of substance, we come to expect substance, don't we?  When there is nothing produced, what is our response?  To be slower to trust in the promise the next time!

No wonder we have a hard time trusting!  We have been surrounded by all kinds of "billowing clouds" - big talkers who promise the world, but deliver far less!  In the end, we develop some trust issues.  When we come to Christ, we may struggle with actually being able to trust him!  After all, we have a history of seeing promises not upheld!  What makes God's promises any different?

Trust is based on a few things.  First, there is a sense of integrity.  In the simplest sense, integrity is the state of being whole.  In terms of God's integrity, there is a soundness to it which comes from him being wholly "holy".  We cannot find any action by God which diminishes our impression of his consistency and integrity.  Throughout all of the scripture, we see his reliability, his promises revealed and fulfilled.  Even in the face of our own lack of integrity, he comes through over and over again!  This is called grace!

Second, there an ability to rely upon the strength of another.  I don't know about you, but my own strength waxes and wanes from day to day - even from moment to moment.  I have trusted others to be "strong" for me, but in the end, I have found their strength to be nothing when compared to the strength of my God!  Humans eventually breakdown - God never does!

Third, trust is based on what we see as the ability of another to do what he / she says.  In my relationships, I like to be able to "count on" another to do something when they commit to it, but you know this may not always be the most "trust-worthy" thing to do!  So, I need to go to the one who is unlimited in ability - God himself!  In respect to his ability, I have some pretty awesome examples in scripture - things like waters being held back for thousands to walk over on dry ground, earth opening up to swallow up others, graves being left empty, and withered limbs being made straight.  Umm...pretty good stuff to show God's ability, if you ask me!

Last, but not least, trust is based on a "surety" - the sense of another being responsible to act a certain way.  There is none more responsible than God himself!  Maybe this is why he holds us "responsible" for our actions - because we were created in his image!  

When it comes to trusting God, we are not trusting in a "billowing cloud"!  We are counting on a firm foundation, complete in every way, creative on all accounts, and capable beyond our wildest imagination!  We may not be able to always trust in our fellow man, but we can trust in God!  He has proven this over and over again - we just need to remind ourselves he is NOT capable of being unfaithful!  

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