The clouds to our East looked dark and ominous as we drove. We knew the forecast was calling for severe thunderstorms with possible tornados, and those clouds looked every bit capable of producing such weather. Our grandma had passed away, and we were determined to make it to the viewing. My younger brother and I continued our conversation while we drove, which included a prayer to our God, Creator of the Universe; we asked, if it was His will, that He would move the clouds out of our path, believing full well that He was able to do so. We continued our drive. It was so easy to talk with my brother, share laughs, shed tears as we recounted memories with our grandma, and get distracted from the inevitable. Yet, for the time being, our path was clear, the sun was shining, and I was very much enjoying the opportunity to catch up with my brother, face to face, whom I hadn’t seen, due to distance, in a while. Our parents were driving behind us with my kiddos, and my husband had planned on coming later, due to his schedule.
The time came to turn East. We knew we would soon enter the storms…Yet, as we approached them, cloud after cloud moved to the left and right of the highway. It literally felt like a parting of the Red Sea! The sun shone brightly down upon us and our path, and the sky above us was a gorgeous blue! Some may explain it away or believe it was just a coincidence, but we knew this was God’s blessing on us and answer to our prayer. As we looked off to the North and South, we knew the storm was present, yet our God was, as well!! I can’t remember if I cried, but I have tears in my eyes, even now, as I think about it. His presence was SO close to us in those moments; I felt like a child, safe, watched over, and cared for by her loving daddy!
Years later, my husband and I were heading back to Mayo Clinic for a variety of medical tests. I was in a mood! No news was going to get me down! Our daughter had prepared an envelope with a plethora of Bible verses listed on it, which she gave to me before we left (I still have this envelope in my Bible to this day!). She picked them out, specifically, she told me, because they were verses that had to do with “praises.” She said she was praising God “for [our] going back to Mayo in the hopes that they would find out something.” We began our trip by my reading a number of them aloud while my husband drove. We had amazing conversations about the text, and my spirits were lifted high as I meditated on the safety of dwelling in God’s presence!
After hours of driving, we could see the skies to the North and West turning extremely dark; we knew storms were ahead. We drove closer and closer to them…up to the bottom edge of that part of the storm front. As we turned West, which was our planned route, we began to drive right into the storm. We saw a beautiful lightning show in front of us, and my husband made a comment about the presence of the storm we were heading into. I remember looking out my window as I was listening to music and seeing large drops of rain begin to fall around us; I said, “I don’t care! We serve the God who tells the rain when and where to fall! Drive on!” I was SO confident in that moment that we could drive into a lightning bolt, and we wouldn’t be harmed! God’s presence was SO full and consuming, and I knew His hand of protection was around us! No more did big drops of rain begin to fall; then, they stopped! We watched as the storm in front of us and to our North cleared, as the storm looked like it was pushed to the South. The remaining trip to Mayo was dry. This is our God!!! You should ask my husband; I was about bouncing off the insides of the vehicle! I was SO excited about Who our God is, what He can do, and how much He loves His kids!!
“For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, His mighty downpour.”Job 37:6 ESV
I know for a fact that God is in the storm…every storm! It may not be a weather storm; it may be a storm in your life. If what I mentioned previously wasn’t enough to convince you, and you are still unsure, may I please share this with you…My younger brother was going through some challenging times. God reminded me of how He led the Israelites out of Egypt and in the wilderness…
“By day, the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way, and by night, in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. “Exodus 13:21-22 NIV
The LORD led them in a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. The LORD God was in both! Sometimes, we can relate to the fire…We see God leading us; we feel His power in us and on our behalf; we see His protection of us, we trust Him fully, and we’re willing to follow Him. On the other hand, the clouds seem to cover the reality of His presence at times. Just like on sunny days, when you see white, puffy clouds floating in the sky, your brain sees images in the clouds like an elephant or dolphin, dog or fork. During our rough times, I believe we as humans imagine things…maybe that God’s not there, because we can’t see Him in this or what we are dealing with doesn’t seem fair; maybe that God doesn’t love us (How could He, if He allowed this to happen?). The fact is: The LORD them in a pillar of cloud, and He never left His place…guiding His people.
So, I called my brother, as the LORD laid His presence in the cloud heavy on my heart and stirred to call him, specifically. I shared what the LORD had given. After I finished, he relayed how he was praying that same day, and He recognized, in his prayer, that the LORD is the same God that led the Israelites through the wilderness in a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire! He said he didn’t really know why those particular words came to His mind while praying, but we do, now! The Holy Spirit was bringing that to his mind and mine to make the impact greater that God’s presence was with him, even in what he was experiencing.
“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, ‘If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So, God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus, the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.”Exodus 13:17-18 NLT
Even when we may question God’s presence, He is working, protecting, and guiding. His ultimate plan may look a lot different than the way we would have done. Honestly, there WAS a shorter way to the Promised Land, yet that wasn’t the BEST way.
Maybe you are walking a path, shining with light and power. God’s presence, guidance, and glory is amazing in that! But maybe a cloud seems to be covering His presence in whatever you’re going through. Maybe you don’t see how any good could come from this. Remember, He will not leave His place, leading His children.
I would love to hear how you have seen God moving in YOUR life! Let me know in the Comment section above (next to the title of this post)!