By Julie Wright
The rainy season is upon us here in South Florida. Our afternoons are filled with large, billowing, and dark clouds charging in from the west like mighty giants who unleash torments of rain that darken the afternoon sky to the point where it looks like nighttime. The days meld together like one continuous storm that seems to have no end. The forecast feels gloomy and sad and we long for brighter, sunnier days to appear again for us.
The widowhood journey can sometimes feel that way too. A close family friend of ours lost her husband just a few weeks ago. He went in for routine surgery and never made it home. An infection caused stress to his heart and he passed away suddenly on the day he was to be released to go home. No one expected the “home” to be heaven that day. We shook our heads and wondered why such a tragedy could happen and then the clouds begin to roll in…
The clouds of sorrow, distress, isolation, and loneliness. The clouds surge in quickly and fill our minds with an overcast forecast of our new futures. They cause a haze that doesn’t allow us to see clearly, if at all. The clouds cause us to feel drained, empty and exhausted; but mostly alone. We wonder when they will stop and if the sun will peer out again, if even just for a moment.
As I sat on my patio this afternoon watching the clouds roll in again, I prayed for my friend. I remembered those first lonely days and weeks. My heart began to ache for her knowing the journey was far from over and that more cloudy days would be ahead for her. In fact, just talking with her and remembering cloudy days along this journey made a new cloud roll into my heart and life. It’s strange how this widowhood path can fill up with cloudy days in the blink of an eye.
The storm clouds passed through our neighborhood quickly today with a brief but strong shower of rain. Thankfully, just as quickly the sunlight was shining again, glistening on the dewdrops left behind on our flowers. I smiled as I realized that while the clouds seem dark, heavy and intimidating at times, the sun never stops shining above them. We may not be able to see the sun all the time, but it’s there. He’s there…in His full glory, brilliance and beauty. He watches the clouds billow and rage over us, sometimes to the point where all we see is darkness; we can’t see Him, but He sees us.
I picked up my Bible and began looking at verses relating to clouds. I found verse after verse that told of God’s glory and care being in those clouds. In Exodus 13:21, “By the day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on the way and by night a pillar of fire to give them light. Neither left its place in front of the people” and again in Exodus 16:10, “…the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.”
Nahum 1:3 says that “the clouds are the dust of his feet.” I liked that one. I could just picture God walking around kicking the clouds as He walked along…just big, puffy, white clouds of dust covering his feet. Can you imagine that? Can you see God just walking along, shuffling through the clouds, moving them along so that He can shine on us again?
I love looking up and seeing the rays of light so white and pure radiating out from a cloud after a rainstorm. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, even when tears stream down. It made me grateful today for cloudy days. Although they seem to outnumber my sunshiny days, in reality the tally isn’t even close. There are far more sunshine filled days, than cloudy ones.
If the clouds of widowhood are surrounding you today and all you see are endless storms of isolation, pain, sorrow and emptiness, please remember that the sun is still shining behind those clouds. That God is right there with you. Whether or not you can see or feel his presence; He is there. Ready to shine down on you with hope, tranquility, joy, and peace. Let the clouds surge and swell around you. Let the rains of your sadness and loneliness flow from them and then look up and see the Son again…He’ll be there. He promises.
I ask you to help us to look past the haze and mist caused from the storms and clouds that fill our lives along this tough and fragile widowhood journey to find the beauty, brilliance and love in you and your Word. Although we sometimes lose sight of you from the overcast and isolating clouds of fear, doubt and grief; deep down, we know you are there. Shine on us. Keep your hand upon us and wipe the rain of tears from our eyes to allow us to see your glory and love once again. We will look to the heavens with great hope and expectation for storms or sunshine, knowing you are in both. Amen.