Into the Cloud

11540872_sI came across a verse this Sabbath afternoon while working my way through HeBrews: a Better Blend. I don’t think my author-friend, Leah, meant for me to park my thoughts at this particular verse for any length of time; nevertheless it parked alongside me, keeping company with my soul for the last several hours.

“The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” –Exodus 20:21

Where God was.

Where was God? In the cloud – shrouded by thick darkness. Moses knew it; the Israelites knew it. Still and yet, they allowed their fear to overrule any measure of faith. Moses? Well, he’d been down that road with God before, back in those beginning days when his fear might have kept him from the greatest faith-adventure of his life. Instead of giving into the fear, Moses approached the darkness—the burning bush, the throne of Pharaoh, the Red Sea. Why?

Because God was in there, in those places of great testing. Moses, better than the Israelites, valued the presence of God and understood that, sometimes, it’s in the darkness where the Light is most radiantly revealed. God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. But in the darkness, when we cannot see clearly for the thick fog surrounding us, God’s light is a holy, welcome resource.

We should not fear the unseen. Just because we cannot see the light doesn’t mean that the light isn’t waiting for us just beyond the veil. Sometimes the way through is clear and obvious. Sometimes, it’s only by taking those initial steps of faith into the cloud that the light will be revealed. Sometimes, it’s our steps forward that bring the sacred flame into focus.

Not long ago, I stepped into the cloud to meet with God. Was I afraid? A little. But like Moses, there was a greater fear that penetrated my heart – The fear of not taking those steps forward. I think that Moses, like me, clearly knew that God had something more for him (beginning at the ripe young age of 80) . . . something beyond the routine of sheep-tending on the plains of Midian. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with sheep-tending. Sheep-tending is a good living unless God wants to move our tending to the other side of the pasture, or in Moses’ case, the other side of the Red Sea.

Every now and again, we have to be willing to let go of good pastureland in order to take hold of God’s Promised Land.

And so, I said “yes” to God and stepped into the thick darkness surrounding my “yes.” Do you know what I found once I did?

His extraordinary “yes” on the other side, brilliant light radiating deeply into my heart and bathing my soul in peace. Why? Because God was there. God is there, and God wants me to be where he is.

Friends, I don’t want to live my life beneath a cloudless sky if it means missing the beauty of a trust-filled walk with the Lover of my soul. I don’t want sunny skies if it means I cannot have the thickness of God’s presence surrounding me. I don’t ask for the darkness; I much prefer sacred revelation without it. But I’ve walked with God long enough to know when he’s inviting me to a deeper level of trust. This is one of those seasons. Accordingly, I have stepped beyond the veil in recent days, and I have seen with my own eyes and felt deeply within my soul what it is to move beyond my fears and to walk with faith as my anchor.

Have I crossed the Red Sea? Not yet, but I’ve dipped my toes into the waters of anticipation, and I’m ready to make that journey through on dry ground.

This is faith from the inside-out, all the way through to Canaan. God is there. He is my next, and he is my peace . . . for the journey. I can’t wait to read the next chapter in this crazy book called “My Life.” Thank you for joining me on the road.

PS:The winner of a surprise gift from Lisa Dixon is Cindy from Letters From Midlife.

Leave a comment today for a chance to win a copy of Leah’s new study, HeBrews: a Better Blend. It is a fascinating, challenging dig into the life of faith. I hope you’ll take advantage of this soul-stretching resource!

Also, have you heard about my summer-combo book deal? You can secure copies of Peace for the Journey and Beyond the Scars for $20 (includes shipping – USA orders only). I’ll be happy to sign them for you and get them in the mail this week (sent media mail). You may order through paypal using the link below or by contacting me directly by clicking here.
wedding summer special




Photo Credit: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo

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11 Responses to Into the Cloud

  1. Lovely analogy, Elaine. I love to hear the sound of anticipation in your “voice.”

    It’s a good challenge to me as I find that I don’t embrace or willingly walk toward the cloud like I once did. After an extended period of following the cloud (or maybe living under it) it’s very easy for me to be happy living under a cloudless sky for a time. But you’re right, if God’s presence is more near in the cloud, that is the more blessed place to be.

    I look forward to hearing more about where He is leading you.

  2. ooohhh, this is so good, Elaine. Isn’t it neat how the Word speaks so uniquely to us. I never would have ‘seen’ that in the verse you referenced. I love this from your heart: ‘Friends, I don’t want to live my life beneath a cloudless sky if it means missing the beauty of a trust-filled walk with the Lover of my soul. I don’t want sunny skies if it means I cannot have the thickness of God’s presence surrounding me.’ Me either!!!

    Today at my blog I am talking about something similar, yet a different analogy. Rushing water and burnings fires that come into our lives. Very similar to the darkness that threatens to engulf us.

    Thank you for the mention…and for the giveaway. Let me know who your winner is and I will mail their book to them. Love you, dear friend. You are a treasure to me.

  3. Always encouraging words to chew on today. Just wanted you to know how much I’m enjoying your book.

  4. Into the clouds and sometimes into the storm itself. Either way, God is there. This was a much needed word for me today. Thank you for it.

    And I actually won your giveaway? That never happens! lol Thank you!

    • And yes, you won! I know. Isn’t that fun?! I’ll have a little surprise in the mail to you sometime this week. Blessings and peace.

  5. I recognize all of it, the clouds, the fog, and the stepping forward in spite of it…

    “Sometimes, it’s only by taking those initial steps of faith into the cloud that the light will be revealed. Sometimes, it’s our steps forward that bring the sacred flame into focus.”

    I am with you sister… it’s those very steps that lead to his more, every time. Why are we so hesitant and slow to do it? This is so well said Elaine.

    Forward we go! 🙂

    Love you sister.

  6. Elaine, this was a particularly good message for me today. This year has been the toughest I have had in a good long time, maybe ever. And I’m afraid, sorely afraid. I don’t want to stay in this place, encamped somewhere far from the cloud. I want God. I want Him in an unmistakable way. Even if His presence scares me. I want to know Him. I so desperately long for peace, but I long for Him even more. I feel like I’m at the edge of the Red Sea, too. But I’m still looking at the Egyptians catching up. Oh Lord, give me the strength to turn around, and take those first do-or-die steps into the water.

    Thanks for this today.

    GOD BLESS.