Thursday, February 14, 2013

Low-Lying Black Cloud Sort of Days

Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.” vrs. 1
Yesterday was a complete disaster for me. Nothing huge or devastating, rather just more things to throw on the pile of discouragement. A day where I wish I could have pushed the rewind button and thrown the covers back over my head and stayed in my warm bed rather than confront the harsh realities of the world. It was a “black cloud” sort of day. We all have them. In the evening I curled up with my Bible and re-read the chapter my family is reading this week, Romans 8.
Black clouds are a result of sin. Sin in us, sin around us, Sin. Hiking up the mountain here in Bogota I can look over the city and see a grey haze hanging over the city. The smog and pollution hover there choking the life out of its inhabitants. I can feel it as I walk along the streets or drive in the car, the life-smothering smoke belching out of busses. Sometimes life feels that way - a slow process of choking. But Jesus invites us to hike up the mountain with him and live above that “black cloud”.

God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along.” vrs. 26
That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our life of love for God is worked into something good.” vrs. 28
Hiking up the mountain here is really hard. The air is thin and the path goes straight up. When I pause and rest several times on my way up it gives me a chance to look around and soak in the beauty of creation. I don't do the hike alone. It's too dangerous. Thieves have lingered behind trees pulling hikers off at gunpoint. They've upped the security along the trail, but I still don't go alone, I always have a companion. On these “low-lying black cloud” sort of days I'm not alone, God's Spirit is right there helping me up my personal mountain. It's comforting to know. Sometimes I feel alone – very alone, but then God always does something to remind me that He is there and I am not alone. It could be a verse, or a phone call or an email. Even a rainbow has proven to wrap its promise around me. And then the promise that the hike is for a purpose. Because I love God, He is going to work every single detail of my life into something good. I don't know how. There are details that I see as worthless. I have days where I feel certain aspects of my life have no value. But God says that every detail will be worked into good, and good things have value. There is a promise there, it may only be a small light flickering in the distance, but God desires us to walk, with His assistance, towards the hope of His promise.

And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger?” vrs. 32
That's me! Who would DARE tangle with me? By the end of yesterday I felt pretty tangled with. I honestly didn't see much good coming out of my attempts of moving forward in life. Rather I had that painful lump in my throat all day long, trying not to cry and trying desperately to battle those black cloud feelings.

I'm absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” vrs. 39
So as I snuggled deep into my chair with my Bible on my lap I realized that God was already holding onto me. He had me nestled deep into a hug. It was really up to me, wasn't it? Was I going to believe that despite the crappy day, God loves me and is holding me close?

What about you? Are you in one of those crushing times of life? A time when you wonder if God is there as one discouraging moment turns into another and another? Are you going to allow God to hold you? Are you going to believe His promise that when our eyes are on Him he will work all this difficulty into something good?

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