"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, O Lord."
Upon deciding to move from Arizona, and to return to Washington State last March, the over-riding concern I had at the time was how on God's green earth I was ever going to handle the intermittable gray. Fogs and mists, not to mention drizzles and downpours seemed unrelenting obstacles.
Then I discovered a promise that put the bothersome thoughts on an altogether different track ...
than a thousand elsewhere ...
For the LORD God IS a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.
It's a familiar refrain, isn't it? I mean, who among us wouldn't want to live one day in His courts versus a thousand elsewhere? Unless, of course, those courts exists beneath gray skies.
At least that's what I thought until I really got grip on this quite extraordinary, exceedingly exquisite promise:
It's been nearly two months since our Arizona exodus, and for the duration I've held onto that promise, knowing the dark days of Fall would soon be upon us.
Oh ... there's been plenty of sun and blue skies; and for sure there is hardly a place under heaven as verdant as the Pacific Northwest. But there's also been plenty of mists & showers which, as we Washingtonians know, is the prescription for that verdantness.
Sometimes that question dangles in the silence. At other times it's met with a sense of peace and comfort; a knowing that all is well with my soul. I am relieved - again - to know that I just don't know everything, much less understand what I do know.
and a fire to give light at night.
Also on this holiday (Sukkot) Jews eat all their meals in temporary booths ... open enough to be able to view the stars above.
Men sleep in these structures as well, to commemorate the
“clouds of glory” that surrounded and protected our ancestors from the harsh desert conditions as we traveled to the Land of Israel after fleeing from Egypt.
Clouds of glory!
By now my CSI instincts have kicked in; and I simply must have more details about this silver lining associated with cloudy skies.
My sleuthing has lead me in many directions; and to many days of related thought. I found the following collection by Alfred H. Joy particularly helpful:
Rain Clouds - Figurative Uses
1. (God's) Presence and Glory:
In the Old Testament, (God's) presence is made manifest and His glory shown forth in a cloud. The cloud is usually spoken of as bright and shining, and it could not be fathomed by man.
...In the New Testament we often have "the Son of man coming on" or "with clouds"
2. Pillar of Cloud:
The pillar of cloud was a symbol of God's guidance and presence to the children of Israel in their journeys to the promised land.
3. Bow in Cloud:
The clouds are spoken of in the Old Testament as the symbol of God's presence and care over His people; and so the "bow in the cloud" is a sign of God's protection.
4. Clouds Blot Out:
As the black cloud covers the sky and blots out the sun from sight, so promises "to blot out the sins" of Israel
There is usually a wide difference in temperature between day and night in Israel. The days are warm and clouds coming from the sea are often completely dissolved in the warm atmosphere over the land. ... Job compares the passing of his prosperity to the passing clouds.
6. God's Omnipotence and Man's Ignorance:
God "bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds" and the "clouds are the dust of his feet". (God) "commands the clouds that they rain no rain", but as for man, "who can number the clouds?"; "Can any understand the spreadings of the clouds?" "Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?".
"He that regards the clouds shall not reap", for it is God who controls the clouds and man cannot fathom His wisdom.
Clouds are the central figure in many visions. Ezekiel beheld "a stormy wind .... out of the north, a great cloud", and John saw "a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting".
8. The Terrible and Unpleasant:
The cloud is also the symbol of the terrible and of destruction. The day of God's reckoning is called the "day of clouds" and a day of "clouds and thick darkness". Joel foretells the coming of locusts as "a day of clouds and thick darkness" which is both literal and figurative. Misfortune and old age are compared to "the cloudy and dark day" and "the clouds returning after rain".
9. Various Other Figures:
- Rapidity of motion
- Swaddling clothes of the newborn earth
- Indicating great height
- Hidden glory (Lev 16:2; Acts 1:9; Rev 1:7).
It is obvious by now that there's more to clouds & mists than meets the eye (or the umbrella). So I close this post with a bit of awe still brewing just beneath my conscious thought. I am no longer daunted by what might be in the dark & misty days ahead because I am now excited for what will be as a result of them.
For the Lord God is a sun ...