I know this story is about the ascension of Jesus into heaven, and the reference to the ‘’cloud’’ is full of rich theological significance and Old Testament resonance. But the simple thought crossed my mind recently that there can be ‘clouds’ that drift across our skies, obscuring our view of Jesus. We know that we’re supposed to ‘’fix’’ our ‘’thoughts’’ and ‘’eyes’’ on Jesus (Hebrews 3:1; 12:2), but clouds, as the song goes, get in our way. It may be a cloud of doubt – you just can’t shake it; It may be a cloud of fear; It may be a cloud of disappointment; of anger; of jealousy; of bitterness…and so on. Like in our every day sky-scape, these ‘clouds’ come in different shapes and sizes. Cloudy days vary too. There are grey days where the very sky seems to feel ‘down’; it’s almost touching the earth. Everything appears dark and gloomy and bleak.
But yesterday morning I looked out at a huge sky, filled with clouds. However, the sun was shining through the gaps and the cracks in those fluffy masses. The clouds were illuminated – especially around the edges. They looked beautiful. I have known cloudy moments where everything was just grey and I could see no light at all. No doubt you have too. But I’m grateful to say that I have often been given eyes to see cloudy skies floodlit by the ‘’sun of righteousness’’ (Malachi 4:2). I’ve had glimpses of the Divine Artist producing masterpieces out of such raw material. There can be a beauty about the clouds He blows into our lives. He sets His bow in them.
When you lose the sight and sense of Jesus it’s best not to stand staring into the sky. Don’t be paralysed by the experience. Of course it is always important to look up; to be prayerful. But don’t become a reclusive mystic, hiding away from the world in your closet. The best thing you can do is to get on with the work the Lord Jesus has given you to do. Return to Jerusalem! (12). There are important things to do there. As you carry out your duties, eventually the clouds will blow away. But even if they don’t, you are being obedient to your Master, and that is of paramount importance.
I read an article, written by a pastor, who said that in a time of crisis in his church, he found it helpful to go about his routine pastoral responsibilities. That resonated with me. I remember a period in my life when I felt so hard-pressed; so exhausted, I could barely put one foot in front of the other. But it really helped to have to – to have to go and lead that meeting etc.
If today seems a bit cloudy, just get on with what you know you ought to be doing. I think you may find that there will soon be a change in the weather.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the beautiful things you do on cloudy days. Please give me eyes to see; faith to believe.