Stella Plage 9/8/17
We had arrived in France on holiday, unpacked the car, and headed down to the seafront. There was a beach to be played on, and if I played my cards right, some frites from a takeaway nearby. It was early evening, but still light.
It had clearly been raining earlier in the day though. There were puddles on the road, it was windy, and dark clouds filled the early evening sky.
The clouds were multiple shades of grey – almost like they had been piled and layered up on each other – the ones in front the darkest as they had many layers of clouds behind them.
Right in the centre of my view though, the sun was beginning to break through. The heat was evaporating the murky light caused by the clouds. Where this happened, blue sky was visible, but the thing that really caught my attention was the area where the sun had broken through. The brightness, intensified against the grey, revealed bright white clouds above the greyness. Although small in area, the light was dazzling, almost blinding.
It got me thinking………the sun is always shining, even when we can’t see it.
It seems to me that there are two reasons that we might not see the sun.
First, and perhaps the most obvious is that there are clouds in the way. Clouds often build up over time, but sometimes suddenly as a result of a strong wind, blowing them in, blocking the sun.
Whether they arrive quickly or over time so we just don’t notice, they are rarely a welcome addition to our experience of life. There are not many of us who like grey overcast days, with threats of rain.
The second reason that we don’t see the sun is that it is shining somewhere else. Either we are simply in the wrong place, or it’s the wrong time.
As I looked – I saw this as a great analogy of the Christian life. How often do clouds of doubt, stress, trouble fill our skies? Building up over time, we miss the fact that the brightness of the Son shining over us is slowly being blocked out. We find that life is getting on top of us, that there isn’t anything good happening any more. The fact that the build-up has been gradual means that it has become “normal”, and we can stop looking for the brightness anymore.
It can get very frustrating when we think that God is “over there, blessing them – but doesn’t every seem to come here anymore.” Why does it seem that all the stories coming out of Cwmbran, Bethel, HTB or Hillsong never seem to happen where I am? Why do I have to go to Newday or Soul Survivor to see God move in power. What are they doing differently to me? Are they better than me? Do they deserve more than I do? And so the clouds of doubt continue to stack up.
Do you get bitter and upset because it isn’t happening where you are (perhaps it used to, but something has changed), or are you excited, and want to rush off on a pilgrimage so you can say you have been there. Maybe something will brush off on you and you won’t have your personal or corporate clouds anymore. My experience is that this works for a bit – and then the clouds and doubts start to form again – slowly at first, but in time all brightness has gone. You are then left with a choice, do you run back to where the Son was shining or figure out a way to live with the clouds.
I guess the first and most obvious question we must ask ourselves is have “I done something to cause the clouds to form? Have I taken my eyes off Jesus, focusing on something which may even seem worthwhile, but isn’t actually Him?” I might be throwing all sorts of energy into church – but if I am pursuing program over Him I am missing the point. If I am doing what I have always done, because I’ve have always done it without asking Him if it’s what He wants – I won’t see the blessing He has for me.
Do these “other” places and people not have problems? If they do, how come they don’t seem to struggle to see Jesus the same way I do?
Ephesians 2:6 says “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” If that is true (and it is), the I should have a completely different perspective on clouds. I sit above the clouds, seated where the Son is shining from. It’s not that the clouds aren’t there, but I see them from heavens perspective. From my heavenly seat, there is only the blinding light of Jesus. I can focus purely on Him, without worrying about the clouds that come to block my view of Him.
Bill Johnson once said, “Faith doesn’t deny a problems existence, it denies it a place of influence.” You see, clouds exist for all of us. Those who are experiencing the Fathers blessing right now also have worries and cares. The difference is that they don’t allow the worries and cares to shape their lives. They have faith in one who exists above the clouds – surrounded by bright light of Jesus.
Life can be tough, problems, hurts and worries will be a part of all of our lives. We need to navigate life keeping our focus on Jesus. He is the one who calms the storm (Luke 8:22-25). He is able (and willing) to calm our storms.
Focus on the Son – and the grey clouds won’t look grey anymore.