Looking out my window today I’m pondering clouds. Those white fluffy things floating around the sky with ease. At times they look like big cotton balls. At other times they’re no more than a wisp of white looking like pieces of Kleenex floating through the air. They have many names and actually fall into three categories. However, the ones most people know are the high wispy clouds called Cirrus. The Cirrocumulus are also high clouds that look like thin white patches, sheets or layers of clouds without shading. The most common ones making people say “ahhh and ohhh” are the low clouds known as the Cumulus and the Cumulonimbus.
As I pondered clouds while looking out my window I decided to do a little research on them. I made an amazing discover! The Cumulus clouds – which are usually dense and darker looking – form on clear days. The Cumulonimbus clouds – are a dense cloud in the form of a mountain or large tower. These clouds are what many refer to as the white fluffy clouds. For years, while cloud watching – and I know I’m not alone here – I’ve always considered the darker Cumulus clouds as the ones to watch out for. I always thought these were storm clouds. Whenever I saw the Cumulonimbus clouds – the nice white fluffy ones – I thought all was fine as they always looked friendlier than the darker Cumulus clouds.
But, this is simply not the case! The Cumulonimbus clouds are the ones to watch for storms. These clouds, while they look sweet and innocent, are actually thunderstorm clouds. These clouds produce rain, and at times, hail and tornadoes! All these years of cloud watching – and finding fun cartoon characters in the Cumulonimbus clouds, little did I know they also contained storms. In other words, that cute white fluffy bunny rabbit of a cloud, also contained the potential for rain and storms.
Aside from pondering clouds, I’ve also been pondering what many call the Presence of God. What happens when God really shows up? Depending on your view of God, when He shows up, he’s like a white fluffy bunny rabbit. Full of love, gentleness and kindness. He’s a God who really doesn’t shake things up. Some view God as a dictator. When He shows up as a dictator, He’s a mean and nasty God not only shaking things up, but making life very uncomfortable. Somewhere we must find balance. While God is a loving and kind God, He is also One who wants to transform us into the image of His Son. That of course means at times a little bit of shaking in our lives will take place. There is one thing I do know for sure – God shows up, in response to prayer.
After King Solomon prayed while dedicating the temple we discover “the glory of the Lord filled the temple” and the priests “could not enter the temple because the glory of the Lord filled it” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). This is what we refer to as the Glory Cloud of God. While a shaking took place the people responded saying “He is good, His love endures forever”.
While flying into the Twin Cities airport in Minnesota recently, our descent took us through one of those white fluffy bunny rabbit clouds. Since I’ve been pondering the Glory Cloud recently I found it interesting that what I initially expected, did not happen. I figured it would be a nice smooth ride. After all, it’s a nice white fluffy cloud. While the ride wasn’t a really rough one as we didn’t hit the dark patches of the cloud, there was some slight turbulence. Suddenly, I discovered what really happens when God shows up. While He is a loving and gentle God, there will be some turbulence as He shakes off areas of our life that do not line up with His Image. But in the end, it is all worth it, as we find ourselves a little closer to Him, and in the midst of His peace and grace.
How’s your cloud riding going? Let’s ride together and find His peace.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.