When you pray for sunshine and get cloud-cover...
We prayed for sunshine. In the spiritual realm, we saw a vision of radiance, innocence like the noonday sun, justice shining like the dawn (Psalm 37).
We prayed for sunshine but all we could see was cloud-cover.
I looked up to heaven wondering why this news? Why didn't things turn out like we hoped? And where was the light? The sunshine?
Have you ever been up in an airplane on rainy day?
If so, you probably marveled, like I did, at the sun shining on the clouds below. Bright and radiant! Thick white clouds below magnify the sun's radiance and reflect it back at you in the airplane as you look out the window, squinting. And then... the descent.
You go through cloud and for a moment ALL you can see is cloud. And then, the rain. Below, as you circle the runway and the citylights and streets and buildings come into view, all you see is dark. It's rainy. It's dim. Salty tears fall on the earth. Yet, we have JUST seen the light!
We KNOW with full assurance that:
- The sun is still there!
- The sun is still shining!
- That the sky is glorious and clear just on the other side of those clouds...
We just can't see it from here. Not yet. Not right now.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
I have faith that the sun is still shining even when I can't see it. I can picture what it looks like above the clouds.
Lesson in faith, No.1: Object Permanence
This is one of the first major child development milestones. Object permenanace. It's when a baby learns that Mommy is still here even if the baby can't see her when she covers her face. In this way, peek-a-boo is more than a childish game. No! It's training ground for childlike faith! That's when we begin to learn that Daddy is near even when I can't see Him, even if my view is blocked by a couch or a wall or a door or a book. When a baby can sit and play peacefully in the living room with full assurance that Daddy is near--even though she can't see him in the kitchen--this is one of our first steps in childlike faith.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must
- ) believe that God exists and
- ) believe that He rewards those who seek Him." Hebrews 11:6
That brings us to Faith Lesson, No. 2: God's Good Intentions
So we see the next step is believing that when I can't see Daddy, He is not only still present but that he is also doing something good for me. I need to believe not only that God exists behind the cloud, but that He's actually working on something for my good behind the cloud...
All things work together for good for those who love God." Romans 8:28
God has good plans to prosper me and not harm me, to give me hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
He rescues me because He delights in me." Psalm 18:19
Even when I'm building blocks in the living room, even when I can't see Daddy in the kitchen, I can believe that:
- He is still near
- He is fixing me a good meal, a good reward, a good plan, a good future.
There's just that tension between when deliverance happens in the spiritual realm and when we see it come to pass in the earthly.
When Jesus died, it looked like the enemy won to all eyes on earth. It looked bad. Even the enemy thought he won! BUT that was the very day of the enemy's defeat. That was the day of Victory for those in Christ Jesus!
So whatever trial you are going through, when you are at your lowest and it looks or feels like the enemy finally won... remember this! The Son is still shining! The Son is Alive! The Holy Spirit is near.
My first step of faith is to believe the Son's light still shines on me even if my view is clouded. My second step of faith is to believe that even this cloud (the delay, barrier, hiccup, whatever it may be) cannot keep God's love from me. That His loving kindness is still set on me on the other side of those clouds. I can trust that I am in His hands and that He still loves me, no matter what I suffer.
I prayed for noonday sun and I got cloud-cover. As I looked up to heaven, a small spot in all the grey opened up and let the sun shine through a small patch of less dense cloud. I saw an all grey cloud sky with one light blue cloud. It was back lit by the sun and in the shape of a heart.
Like sunlight through a heart cloud, He filters every decision through His Loving Kindness.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!"
Lord, we trust you. We believe in you, in your goodness, justice and mercy. And we believe you love us. We have faith that your face shines upon us, even when its cloudy on this side of heaven.
As they sing, "The sun'll come out tomorrow."