Friday, June 13, 2008

SONshine on a Cloudy Day

"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." Mark 13:26

I don't recall the date, or how old I was, or even where I was, but I distinctly remember a day that I looked up at the sky and realized that no matter what the sky looked like...dark, ominous storm clouds, puffy white billows, or gray-white haze...that there was always blue sky behind it. It was a stark revelation! I totally didn't expect it. From every direction, as far as the eye could see, it just seemed that the cloud cover was height, in depth, in width. And then there was this a porthole, or a view through a periscope, or the sight when looking through a wrapping paper cardboard tube...not such that you can see the whole background, but just a circular glimpse of the most brilliant hue of blue. I'll never forget it, the realization that it is always back there...behind the clouds.

This memory was triggered as I was working through the last days of Fingerprints of God, a Bible study by Jennifer Rothschild. The title for the day's study was "Canvas for His Glory," and the focal Scripture for the day was John 9:3, which says, "...but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." The passage refers to the healing of a man born blind. Jennifer (who is also blind) pointed out something key in these few verses, that is probably often overlooked. She asked, "Did you catch the sequence?" She said, "Jesus said that the man's blindness happened for God's glory before He actually healed him." She went on to say, "My friends, the work of God is displayed in the heartache-not only in the healing."

Jennifer asked the questions, "If God is using your difficulty as a canvas for His glory...What colors would He use? What subject would He capture? How long would it take to complete His work?"

Here's where I happened to remember the blue sky revelation incident. When I answered the "What colors would He use?" question, I wrote dark grayish...surrounding a circular splash of sapphire blue with bright yellow right in the center. That was to capture the subject that He, the SON/sun is always there, in the center, no matter what storm clouds may be hovering. Since I'm already interjecting personally, I'll go ahead and answer the third question, as to how long will it take Him to complete His work...forever. But I know that "He who began a good work...will carry it on to completion!" (Phil. 1:6)

Our life's "clouds" come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of intensity. Sometimes we stand stunned, as the disciples did, when "a cloud hid Him from their sight." (Acts 1:9) We must remember that wasn't the end of the story! As we are told in Mark 13:26, "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." And in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, we "will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

And until that day comes, we must cling to the many truths in His Word that remind us that "It is God who arms [us] with strength..." (Ps. 18:32), and that "[He is our] lamp...the Lord turns [our] darkness into light." (2 Sam. 22:29) We are promised many times in Scripture that we must "Be strong and courageous....for the Lord your God goes with you;he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:6, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5)

Oh Lord, our God, thank you for being our light, for being willing to dwell even in the dark clouds (1Kings 8:12), for promising to never leave us or forsake us. Thank you that we can trust you to work a masterpiece on the canvas of our lives if we yield to the strokes of your hand. May your work be displayed in both our heartaches and our healing. Only a God like You.

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