My God Is A Cloud-Rider

IMG_0247

Before the rains came about a week ago, I was just routinely getting myself dressed when the title for this blog post was impressed upon my spirit. I jotted the phrase down on a scrap of paper in my night stand and left it on my vanity to do some digging into Scripture. One verse kept coming to me over and over again. One that has fascinated me in times past, maybe because I’m a writer and the words are just so poetic.

“He wraps Himself in light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of His upper chambers on the waters. He makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.” Psalm 104:3

Oh. Be still my beating heart.

If you’re a faithful reader of my blog, you know I’m a little on the sensitive side. My spirit responds to words like these. For all my musings and ponderings, all my passions and imaginations, all my longings and yearnings for things of my God…words like these just make me weep.

For the past 8 years I’ve lived in a tiny town in North Carolina, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours from the eastern shore where hurricane season keeps beach residents on their toes and tourists at bay. I may not live right on the coast, but the month of October brings the rains inland and we find ourselves without sunshine for days at a time. If I wanted to live under a canopy of clouds for days on end I might consider moving to Seattle. I hear it rains 9 months out of the year there, but I have no desire.

Because sometimes, it’s just plain depressing.

The past couple of days the rains have been accompanied by some gusty winds. Forget the umbrella. What good does it do to try and shield myself when the wind just blows the rain aimlessly, soaking my clothes, and dampening my mood?

But then verses like Psalm 104:3 come to mind and I forget the relentless rains. I forget the dark clouds. I forget the gusty winds. And I remember…

I remember Who rules over the weather. I remember Who surrounds Himself in splendor and majesty, whose light shines in dark places. I remember Who is enthroned above the clouds, whose home is arrayed in the brightness of His glory. I remember Who causes all things to fit together perfectly like beams being fitted for a house. I remember Who holds it all together.

“He made darkness His covering, His canopy around Him–the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of His presence clouds advance, with hailstones and bolts of lightning.” Psalm 18:11 & 12

I remember Who the Builder is. Stable. Certain. Steadfast. Sure.

I remember Who reigns over the enemy. I remember Who rides in the front lines of battle, whose righteous right hand upholds in stormy places. I remember Who is supreme above the clouds, whose armor is impenetrable. I remember Who causes enemies to flee, whose Name makes the foe tremble in fear. I remember Who fights for those who love Him.

“See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before Him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.” Isaiah 19:1

I remember Who the Victor is. Mighty. Powerful. Strong. Formidable.

I remember Who rides on the winds. I remember Who saves in times of trouble, whose person comes swiftly in gusty places. I remember Who is calm above the clouds, whose presence is peace. I remember Who causes hearts to trust, whose very character makes hope come alive. I remember Who helps those who are crushed in spirit.

I remember Who the Savior is. Redeemer. Restorer. Faithful. Eternal.

“Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will  mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.” Daniel 7:13, Revelation 1:7 

There’s just something about the clouds that give me a holy expectation. I don’t have to muse or ponder, pretend or imagine because I can take this Scripture literally. The clouds make the Sovereignty of God and Supremacy of Christ very real, because I believe that one day they will open up and herald the return of the King. I can long and yearn for these things of God to be revealed.

God is in His heaven and He has not forgotten us. Jesus still makes Himself known to people today, but even for those who don’t know Him, or believe in Him, or even want to recognize Him, one day He will appear and all will behold Him. He will descend from heaven. He will come in the clouds. There is no hidden meaning here. Scripture means just what it says.

There is nothing depressing about this. There is nothing depressing about the clouds. Even when the days are dark and there seems to be no light shining in the sky. Even when the enemy is roaring like a lion and there seems to be no end to evil in this world. Even when the rains come and there seems to be no dam to stop the floods. Even then….

even so…I remember.

I remember Who rules. I remember Who reigns. I remember Who rides on the wings of the wind for I know…I believe…

my God is a Cloud-Rider.    

My Strong Tower

IMG_1263

I’ve always loved Proverbs 18:10,

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.”

What is a tower anyway? I mean, I have visions of Rapunzel letting down her hair from the tower which her adopted (albeit, B.A.D.) mother, an evil enchantress,  locked her up in with no means of escape so that her prince charming (oh, the depths of undying love) could climb up her beautiful, strong locks (so jealous) to meet secretly with her.

For real? A tower made of stone or brick so tall with no doors to enter in or out and one lone window at the very tip top. A window in which poor trapped-and-unable-to-escape Rapunzel could only look out upon the beautiful world that surrounded her prison and dream about what life was like…out there…in the magical forests and mystical woodlands.

Hmmmmmm. I think I’m missing something.

It’s just so obvious that the enchantress misused the true purpose of a tower.

A tower was built to be a place of safety and protection. A tower was a place of gazing and watching. A tower was built high so one could see far and wide. A tower was strong and built to last.

But a tower wasn’t meant to hold people captive. A tower was meant to hold them close. To give them comfort. To keep them safe. A tower wasn’t meant to keep all of life out as much as it was meant to preserve the life inside.

And God is just so very good and wonderful about preserving lives.

A tower was built to be a defensive weapon. Watchmen in the tower kept watchful eyes on the horizon to distinguish between friend and foe approaching the city behind the safety of the walls. Towers were sometimes part of a huge complex called fortresses. Friends and allies were allowed inside, but enemies were fought and fired upon. It was hard to get inside a city so well protected. Those on the inside felt a measure of peace and assurance that the guards in the tower were ever alert, always awake, always armed.

No wonder David, the great psalmist, acknowledged God as his Fortress, Rock, Refuge, Shield, Deliverer and Stronghold all in three verses of one psalm!

” ‘I love You, O Lord, my Strength.’  The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer, my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge; my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”  Psalm 18:1-3

How can anyone sing a song like that and not be strengthened in his inner man?!?

But what I love most about Proverbs 18:10 is that God’s name alone has great power, ‘the name of the Lord is a strong tower…”

There is power in the name of the Lord. (I think we forget that sometimes.)

There is strength in the name of the Lord. (I think we neglect that sometimes.)

There hope in the name of the Lord. (I think we ignore that sometimes.)

The thing is…we can’t dethrone God. He’s always going to be mighty. And strong. And powerful.

He’s always going to be above all things. And in control of all things. And working out His plan in all things.

He’s always going to be ever watchful. Ever armed. Ever awake.

Even when we think He’s not. He is.

Even when we think He’s forgotten us, He really hasn’t, “Can a mother forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15

Even when we think He’s lost sight of us, He really hasn’t, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:6

Even when we think He’s uncaring or unmindful of us, He really isn’t, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matthew 6:26

We can try all we want to strip God of His character and believe He’s something other than what He says He is, but it’s only a matter of personal belief. God can’t be dethroned. We can’t take away His Sovereignty. Over and over again in Scripture He tells us things like, “I am The Lord, and there is no other…besides Me there is no God…there is no one besides Me…for I am The Lord, and there is none else…”

Sometimes, I think we miss something.

Something that looks a lot like belief. ‘Cause we don’t always act like we believe He is….well…above all!

Because sometimes, instead of finding safety in The Strong Tower, we let down our hair and let the enemy climb up. Instead of using the tower as a defensive weapon, we let the foe climb right in.

Lord, have mercy.

What if, when we start disbelieving, we start calling upon His name? What if, when we start doubting, we start standing upon the Rock, holding up our Shield, blowing our Horn, and trusting our Deliverer to save?

What if we stood tall in our Strong Tower like true watchmen?!? What if?!?

Well, maybe…just maybe…instead of an evil enchantress we might get a prince. And instead of a prison we might get freedom. And instead of fear we might have peace.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me so instead of trying to escape from the tower I think I’ll try running to it. As fast as my little legs will carry me.

‘Cause in my heart I truly believe,    

“No one is like you, Lord; You are great, and Your name is mighty in power.” Jeremiah 10:6