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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Cloudy with a chance of sunshine

Mom has a weather gauge in her room, hooked up to some satellite feed somewhere in the high skies up there, which is pretty accurate. As I glanced at it this morning, the prediction was for partly cloudy skies most of the day and pretty mild weather. The clouds are depicted by this fluffy mass partly obscuring the sunshine, but with the sun still peeking through just a bit. It made me think about clouds for just a moment or two. Some of us think of clouds as carriers of rain - pretty much counting on those clouds to bring some kind of downpour into our lives. In Arizona, clouds often pass right on through without any hint of rain! They look promising, but in actuality, it is too doggone hot for the rain to even make it to the ground - it evaporates long before it can make it to the surface of the heated desert floor. Still other clouds are carriers of just the right amount of stuff, combined with just the right type of weather conditions, that produce tenderly floating white stuff which settles in beautiful mounds of that stuff many break out the snowboards and skies to enjoy. Yet, not all clouds produce snow, even when the conditions appear to be "right". Rain and snow are not promised with the coming of the clouds - it might happen, but there is no guarantee, is there? In life, we face many "cloudy" conditions, believing the conditions "just right" to produce some type of relieving downpour or blanketing beauty, but alas, the clouds are devoid of any such things.

For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster. (Proverbs 1:32-33 ESV)

One of the things I have realized about clouds is that they change the appearance of things in my life. The clouds can darken the sun, making it a little less "bright". They can change the normal beautiful blue of the sky into a dusky grey color, making us barely aware of the beauty just beyond them. They can also pass through with such force so as to be super-charged with all manner of lightning and thunder, making quite a spectacle as they blow on through, but do nothing more than cause a little terror in their passing. Life has many types of cloudy days - most pass without much incident, but some will deliver the torrential downpour or mounting weights of "iciness" too hard to bear up under. We never know what they may "deliver" or if they will pass on through. We simply ride out their presence and trust for the best. One thing I have also noted about the clouds - they can render the first light of the morning sky, or the last light of the evening sky a canvas so radiantly aglow with magnificent splendor that awes the watchful eye and yearning heart.

The clouds can do more than render "storm-like conditions" to our soul - they can produce a canvas of artwork so magnificent and radiant that we cannot help but take it all in, basking in the beauty produced and the "fine art" of the master's hand in view. I used to dread the hints of storm coming, running home at break-neck speed at the first clap of thunder or mystical strike of lightning in the far off sky. I used to hide in terror, fearful of the mightiness of the winds and the "unease" they brought all around me. Now, I rather appreciate the storms, for they are what have given me strong root, caused me to be able to bend in sway with those same winds I dreaded so long ago, and to turn toward the light which constantly gives the skies of my life a bright and radiant glow. The one caused me to run for shelter to the one place I knew I could always count on to be a place of safety in my life. The other caused me to lie peaceful in the basking of that last glow of summer's light. Both brought me joy - one because I was held closely to the heart of the one who made me feel safe - the other because I was being reminded of just how safe I was.

The clouds may paint a beautiful picture - one which you can appreciate and contemplate - one which sets the heart at ease and the mind to rest. Or they can produce a sense of terror and uncertainty. Each has a "beauty" all their own - each serves a purpose. Clouds and storms need not give us concern when we know who it is that brings those clouds in the first place! Just sayin!