A cloud is often associated with lack of visibility, impaired judgment, uncertainty, unseen dust and an approaching experience that has adverse implications. Aircraft would often seek to avoid them, as in the worst of weather, poor visibility has been responsible for disasters. Clouds can be so thick, low and dark causing a fog – all motion slows down and eventually stops till it clears. Yet clouds are an aggregation of tiny drops of water …floating in the sky over the dry ground carrying seed begging for fresh moisture. Elijah the Prophet witnessed a growing cloud … starting grey and little, like a man’s hand and growing to cover the entire windy heavens, black. And a great downpour follows.
I Kings 18 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot , and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.  And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.
Dear friend, that which has caused your confusion, blurred vision, despair and even sometimes ingratitude to God, murmurings and unforgiveness can be likened to a growing cloud. A fast growing situation that seemed to get darker and more frustrating. For some it is a loneliness cloud or a family cloud, for others it is a scandal cloud and even worse for some a bereavement cloud. Many seem to be under health-related clouds and others have found themselves in finance clouds. For others, prayers and time seem to have cleared the clouds when still small …while yours seemed to get darker and larger and now looms pitch black.
Proverbs 16:15 says “ … his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain” …but what favour can be latent in growing clouds… I have adapted a story recently read to illustrate this …
“ A man, born in a small town, migrated from the town to a nearby city hundreds of miles away, and lived in the city for several decades. One day, he told his grandson who had never been to this town, he would want him to see the house grandpa was born. They embarked on a journey which started very well on a modern and smooth wide road, and his son chatted happily with grandpa in the public bus …laughing and enjoying the scenery, stopping for refreshments at a nearby restaurant. Soon they arrived at a bus park … “we must walk now, it’s not far – under an hour or so” …Grandpa, took his nervous grandson who could not see any road but a rough dusty path which seemed to be leading nowhere. “ Are you sure, Grandpa …surely this cannot lead anywhere?” ..as they travelled on the path, the road seemed to get narrower and all that could be seen was dark forest and skies now black – covered by huge trees. Now the younger boy clings very nervously “shouldn’t we be turning back?” and then suddenly they could see an open field and they had arrived at the beautiful small town …”
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The shepherd of our soul who guides us through all the issues of life to our eternal home from which He came. If only we would cling to Him all the time and not just when the dark clouds come. We cannot learn as well when we are distracted and preoccupied with pleasures and our eyes on trivial pursuits.
Psalm 119 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
The Bible reminds us that all we call afflictions are light. The time of great rain came as Ahab was told to go and “Prepare …” A Great Rain requires preparations … I need to learn afresh to steward the downpour from open heavens as God intended. I need to learn to get my seed ready and understand afresh the principles of sowing as the ground will again receive the rain from heaven. How must I be ready for the coming revival? What we need most before times of great blessings are times of intensive tutoring at the feet of the master. Indeed the greater the rain, the greater and darker the cloud needs to be. Soon the heavens will open, again.
Another story. In 1773, William Cowper, became insane, imagining not only that he was condemned to hell eternally, but that God was commanding him to take his own life. After a year or so, he began again to recover. The last hymn Cowper ever wrote was “God moves in a mysterious way”
Cowper who often struggled with depression and doubt, one night decided to commit suicide by drowning himself. He called a cab and told the driver to take him to the Thames River. However, a thick fog came down and prevented them from finding the river and after driving around lost for a while, the cabby finally stopped and let Cowper out. To Cowper’s surprise, he found himself on his own doorstep: God had sent the fog to preserve him from death. Even in our darkest moments, God watches over us as Cowper writes in the famous hymn …
God moves in a mysterious way –His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea – and rides upon the storm.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break – in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.
Do not despair at the sight of the black clouds that has enveloped nations, the church, families, businesses and even individuals. It is an unusual act of preservation and an opportunity to rediscover the source of our strength, God – and to be prepared so we can be used to steward His favour and coming showers. The clouds are to preserve us … also helping us to recognise and repent of our selfishness, self reliance, human limitations and idols hampering the coming great revival. Painful experiences and uncertain cloudy periods that lead us to cling closer to Jesus are great and necessary acts of divine providence as we approach final laps of history and the ushering of the greatest Holy Ghost revivals ever seen.