Thank you, God, for Your presence……….for Your hope……….and for Your love!
I was enjoying the beauty of a crisp fall morning yesterday, adjusting to the time change and the earlier daylight that it brought. The sunshine on the fading yet still colorful leaves was helping to fuel my energy on this Monday. I was busy going about my morning routine when a quick glance out the kitchen window showed me that there was something new on the horizon, out past our tree line and the farmer’s fields across from our house. The entire skyline was filling with clouds. Not soft, puffy clouds – but a mass of darker, thicker clouds was filling the Kansas sky. I wondered if these clouds were just a passing layer that would dissipate in the rising sun, but as the minutes went by I knew that they were instead building into a covering that would soon blot out the sun and turn my shining morning into a darker one.
Sure enough, it wasn’t long until the entire sky was filled with this grey spread that totally transformed the outdoor scene. Now instead of glowing sunshine bouncing off the yellows and rusts and evergreens of our trees, the view became one of muted tones………of drabness…………of coldness. And though I’ve never minded cloudy days, I did miss the brilliance of the sunshine on the colorful leaves, along with the energy and the warmth that the light had given me on this Monday morning. I watched helplessly as the clouds built and spread across the blue sky, unable to change their momentum or their effect.
All of us either are facing, or will sometime face, these building clouds on the horizons of our lives. We look ahead and we sense, or know with certainty, that there are changes waiting on the outskirts of our present happy situations that may change our lives………..or at least alter our current secure world. For me, today, I don’t think I want to hear what my surgeon will say about my shoulder injury. I don’t want to face surgery, nor the long recovery and inconvenience that may be awaiting me. For many others, there are far more serious situations. They watch as a tiny baby struggles to grow and thrive in the NICU; they await the biopsy results that are coming for someone they love; they struggle with serious undiagnosed health issues as they go from test to test with various doctors; they deal with chronic pains and depression; they watch with broken hearts as their children walk away from the Lord; they seek God for wisdom in making major, life changing decisions; they see their marriage fail and their finances plummet; they see their homes destroyed in a hurricane and their entire lives in upheaval.
And today, we watch and wait as our country selects a new President. With the selection of either candidate, we wonder how our nation’s people will respond. We know that there may be conflict and we pray that there will not be uprisings. We wonder if our country will ever be as we remembered it years ago, unified and vigorous. Or are the building clouds threatening to change our nation forever?
In all of these situations, there is one constant………one point on the compass that is sure. Listen to the Psalmist in Psalm 42:5 – “Why are you in despair, oh my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” God hasn’t left us – He hasn’t abandoned us, even as the thick clouds cover our world. We don’t need to despair or be disturbed, for we have the help of His presence!
Again, in verse 11, the Psalmist says – “Why are you in despair, oh my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” Again, even in the bleakness we should praise God……….and in focusing on Him, even our countenance will change.
Finally, verse 8 – “The Lord will command His loving kindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.” Wow! Not only will God exhibit his love to me in the daylight when my surroundings are full of light………….but He promises that His song will be with me in the dark times. A prayer, the writer says………..my response to the growing clouds that threaten my happiness is a prayer to this God Who commands His love in every situation of my life. A prayer of submission to God Who orchestrates my cloud cover and a prayer of praise to God Who commands His love to me.
We submit and we praise, even when we don’t feel like doing so. We submit and we praise, even as we watch the clouds fill our sky. We submit and we praise, even when the news isn’t good news. We submit and we praise, even when the decisions are very difficult. We submit and we praise, even if our candidate doesn’t win. We submit and we praise because we have a God Who is with us in the sunshine and in the clouds, in the good and the bad of life.