Are they filled with both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning?
Have the clouds changed color from indigo to dark purple or dark green?
Are the high, dark, clouds in the west advancing with an eery calm with descending darkness?
For farmers and ranchers whose families have lived in these areas for generations, the conditions reflected in the clouds are stronger warnings for them than severe weather warning sirens. “Watch the clouds,” these weather watchers will tell you, “because the clouds will let you know when danger is coming. Ignore them at your own risk!”
As followers of Jesus, however, the clouds hold another message for us:
This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven (Acts 1:11).
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father — to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him... (Revelation 1:5-7).
The clouds can remind us that Jesus will return to us in the way his first disciples saw him leave them (Acts 1:11). Our resurrected Lord has not finished his work with planet earth. He has left for a while but with the promise that he will return.
Jesus' resurrection ensures that when he returns he will bring with him all those who have gone to be with him after their physical bodies have died (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Philippians 1:19-23; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10). They will be given new immortal bodies, like Jesus’ immortal body (1 Corinthians 15:35-49). Those who are still alive when the Lord returns will also have their bodies changed into immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-54), and they will be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
This glorious day of victory and reunion is the promise God gave us with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Jesus was the first fruit: the first of many to be raised never to die again (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). His victory over sin, death, and hell will become our victory (1 Corinthians 15:24-28, 53-58). Every cloud we see can be a reminder of the glory that awaits us (Romans 8:18) and the victory and reunion that lie ahead for all of us who belong to Jesus.
Yes, I will continue to watch the clouds in late spring where I live. I’ve seen dark clouds spin up horrible tornadoes, drop grapefruit-sized hail, cause flash flooding, and generate powerful straight-line winds. But, with each cloud, I also see the promise and hear the whispered reminder of Jesus’ revelation to John on Patmos:
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him!
Special thanks for the use of images related to Jesus' ministry from The Lumo Project and Free Bible Images for use on this week's post, "The Jesus Window"! The incredible photographs of storm clouds come from Unsplash!