It was still raining when I boarded my flight. I took my window seat and looked out to see one last view of the city. There was only a faint vision of the New York skyline and memories of the beauty of the previous day. We taxied out to the runway and within seconds after liftoff the images of the city were hidden behind a sea of thick dark clouds.
As we continued to climb, the darkness began to brighten, and within a short time we were above the clouds. Below us was a light fluffy blanket of clouds. All around us was nothing but blue sky and sunshine. In my head, I could hear Willie Nelson singing, "Blue skies; nothing but blue skies ..."
Then I had one of those "Duh!" moments: beyond the clouds the sun always shines! No matter what the weather is down below, when we are able to see above and beyond the clouds, we realize that the sun always shines and the skies are always blue.
Sitting there peering out the window at the clouds below and surrounded by sunshine and blue skies — and yes, under my breath I was singing "Blue skies and rainbows and sun beams from heaven ..." — I was reminded of the scene on the mountain when Peter, James and John were with Jesus on the mountain:
Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus (Mark 9:7-8 NIV).
There was the cloud. Then, there was God.
These words of Jesus also came to mind:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NIV).
Perhaps Jesus was telling us that there will be times in our lives when all we can see with our eyes are clouds, but if we will keep looking with our hearts, if we will search beyond the clouds, then we will see Him.
Your vision is clouded by the sadness of losing a loved one, or what appears to be inevitable loss of a loved one. Will you keep looking above and beyond the cloud? He is there.
Your world is darkened by a marriage that appears to be falling apart, or a marriage characterized by apathy and disrespect from your partner, or a marriage that seems hopelessly lost to busy schedules and an over-commitment to climb the ladder of success. Will you look beyond the clouds? He is there. He can help.
The cloud of a life filled of dishonesty, deceit, cover-ups, and pretense engulfs your life. Will you look beyond the cloud? He is there. He can help. He wants to help.
Your family is completely covered with a cloud heartache, loss, and grief. Will you look beyond the cloud? He is there. He can help. He wants to help. He understands your pain.
Your future is hidden by a cloud of hopelessness due to a past of broken dreams, failures, and disappointment. Will you look beyond the cloud? He is there. He can help. He wants to help. He understands your pain. He can give you a new dream.
In this life there will be clouds. But, take heart. He has risen above the clouds. He is there. He invites you to rise above the clouds with Him. You can see him ... if you'll look beyond the clouds.