Clouds Of Gloom, Clouds Of Glory
By Lois J. Stucky
Do we not all sense the storm that is gathering? Today’s society has hanging over us dark clouds of sin and iniquity that threaten our nations with destruction. Some of us may feel like doing what we did in childhood when a nighttime thunderstorm came – hide our heads under the covers or the pillow and retreat from it as much as we could.
But as mature Christians, with eyes of faith we must see beyond these dark clouds that will surely eventually bring judgment from God if our nations do not turn, and we must see that "The Lord hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all" (Psa. 103:19). Clouds to Him are but "the dust of His feet." God "hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm." He is "slow to anger, and great in power" (Nah. 1:3). Our merciful God is yet able – and waiting – to intervene in the affairs of men and of nations if we pray. How forceful is Dr. Blackaby’s article urging and imploring us to be ones who will unceasingly bear this prayer burden. God help us to be not only stirred to the depths by this article, but to obtain grace from God to pray as we never have before.
From His lofty place in heaven, our mighty God is fully able to "step down" and do wondrous works of salvation and deliverance and righteousness, as in the encouraging article on page 7. What we see God do as He pierces through the dark clouds with a ray of light on a local level, He can do on a greater scale. "Things which are impossible with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:27). This is what God waits to do, for He wants no one to perish.
When we learn His conditions for getting such extraordinary movings of the Holy Spirit, might we not turn sadly away like the rich young ruler, counting the price too great. God grant us grace to lay hold of His generous promises, such as: "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring" (Isa. 44:3).
Clouds in the Personal Life
Since it is not only society, but individual lives today that have clouds darkening their skies, there are probably some readers who feel overshadowed right now with unprecedented trials, unthought-of troubles, and rugged, mountain-size difficulties. For a time the whole sky of our life may seem overcast with dismal clouds: grave failures or disappointments, ill health, old age, abusive marriage, wayward children, grief and loneliness of widowhood or of any description, financial stringency, etc. There is a snatch of a song that says, "Back of the clouds, the sun is always shining; after the storms, your skies will all be blue; God has prepared a rosy-tinted lining; back of the clouds it’s waiting to shine through" (Carolyn R. Freeman).
Where God abides far above our clouded-over skies, His love is as warm toward us as we experienced in our sunniest days (although it may be obscured for the time being if there is sin to be repented of). His wisdom which led in the past in such pleasant places is just as perfect though in the dimness of stormy skies, following Him is less clear and more arduous. God says: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness" (Isa. 41:10).Applying the truths on page 8 helps us be joyful even on cloudy days.
The Cloud of Glory
Totally different than dismal clouds are the clouds of God’s glory. God came down and filled the tabernacle and the Temple with a cloud of glory (Ex. 40:34-35; 1 Kgs. 8:10-11). Oh, that we might see His glory! And the Bible speaks of the Lord’s favor as a cloud full of the latter rain (Prov. 16:15). Is that not what we long for? "Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field" (Zech. 10:1). That is the way to a bountiful harvest of souls!
And then there is the glorious day when Christ shall come in clouds of heaven with power, when His own will be caught up together with Him (1 Thess. 4:16-17). Might God enable us to keep our focus on Him and not let the enemy of our souls render us so discouraged by overcast skies that we are of little use in the work of the kingdom of our Christ and of His God today. However fearsome or gloomy appear the clouds of today, let us eagerly watch and prepare for Christ’s coming in clouds of glory, and be zealously busy in His service until He comes!