Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Of Clouds and Glory

Sometimes I feel so mixed up inside, like I am full of knots that need to be entangled and straightened out. I hate conflict, with all that is in me, and yet inner conflict is not an unusual emotion to experience in my day-to-day encounters with people and situations. My sense of justice and my feelings conflict with each other, and cause me to see things from two different, and often opposing, viewpoints. Such was my state of mind tonight as I left my apartment to head back to work. It is the week before our last ATI Regional Training Conference, and our Department is deliciously busy scouting out and rounding up all the loose details that seem to run around like ants responding the destruction of their home. I twisted my ankle a couple of weeks back and it still reminds me of its tenderness every now and again, so I walked slowly tonight, trying to convince myself of my ability to handle the stress of my work responsibilities in addition to the laundry, house chores, and packing that must take place before I leave for Indianapolis on Sunday.

I stepped off the sidewalk and turned my eyes to the sky, grateful for the breeze and anxious to see a glimpse of celestial beauty to calm my soul. The sight of the clouds brought my steps to a halt and I took a moment to gaze upward and loose myself in the beauty of the evening. I have never seen such amazing cloud artistry. Huge billowy clouds, gently shaped, but with perfectly defined edges filled the northwestern sky and sent little offspring as heralds before their mighty force. One particular cloud caught my attention. Rich and stately in size and demeanor, it swelled up and over itself, overflowing its edges and constantly creating for itself a new dimension. It was pure white, but it appeared to be shadowed by something else. I quietly thanked God for this sight that refreshed my spirit, took off my shoes, and intended to go about my merry little way as planned. Two minutes of sky gazing transformed my soul from a busy, huffy mess to one of a quiet, meditative dreamer.

I rounded the corner and headed down the hill. As I walked on, the arms of the trees parted to reveal a whole choir of clouds even more magnificent than the one I previously observed. These western clouds were a gloriously rich, deep white, tinged with gray from the north, and backlit with pure gold from the heart of the sun. Shafts of light tumbled like rivers and waterfalls over the edges and between columns of the various cloud formations, and I could almost fancy I heard them singing as they traversed the sky from the fingertips of God.

As I walked on, the clouds changed, reshaped, grew in size and intensity. As two clouds parted and light came tumbling through the gap, I almost imagined I could see the entrance to the throne room of the Most High King, and hear Him say, My child, come farther up and further in.

Clouds inspire a sense of exhilaration and desire in me unlike almost any other force of nature. When combined with a fresh and moderately strong breeze, as there was tonight, my mind unwittingly turns God-ward in prayer and in longing. As I pondered the masterpiece tonight, I thought of Moses who spoke with God face to face, as a man speaks with His friend. Moses knew God, communed with God, listened to God, and desired to see God in all His glory, to know Him even more. And God granted His request, and passed before him. MosesÂ’ satisfaction in God was so intense that he remained on the mountaintop with God forty days and nights, neither eating nor drinking. Enoch walked with God, and was no more, for God took him. Walked with God can be translated, he set himself to walk, he was fixedly purposed and determined to live to God (Adam Clarke). As I meditate on the beauty of clouds, my soul longs to know the very depth and length and breadth and height of the love of God, as Moses and Enoch did.

The more I think of the heaven, the more I come to realize that heaven is not pearly gates and streets of gold and freedom from sin, pain, and tears. That is what heaven contains. But that is not what heaven is. Heaven is seeing God face to face, knowing Him fully, and delighting in Him without the constant inner conflict of sin and flesh warring against my thirst for Christ. Heaven is God. The result is glory. I think that is why I take such sheer delight in wind and clouds and stars and the vast expanse of the heavens above. To my soul, these things represent the depth of desire I have to see God without a dim looking glass standing in the way. I do not desire to walk streets of gold. I do not desire to sit down at a wedding feast with billions of people. I do not desire to eat from the tree of life and drink from the crystal river. I desire to know, experience, and delight in my Lord, and to loose myself in the gloriousness of such a thing coming to pass.

"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long." -A. W. Tozer


Katie said...

Sarah, you are amazing! How you can express exactly what you are thinking into words is just incredible! I loved it! It spoke to my soul too, without me personally seeing the clouds. But I sure could imagine what it was like through your writing. Wow. Love you!

bridget crenshaw said...

Sarah, An wonderful description of a beautiful day through the eyes of a beautiful person. Keep blogging!
Aunt Bridget

Britton said...


Keep up the good work on your photography! :) Can't wait to see more pics on here...