Dull Skies and God Rays

2 Sam 22v29I love Fall morning fog.  I love the slow creeping shroud of stillness.  I love the sense of mystery it brings as it forces me to change my focal point. And, most of all, I love the backdrop fog gives to glory.

“God rays” are what they’re called in the graphic design world.  Incredible shafts of sunlight that shoot from clouds and paint glory across the sky.  The real term is “crepuscular rays” and they are typically seen in the dusk and dawn hours when the golden beams contrast against dull skies. In this part of the world, we know dull skies.  Clouds sit low.  Morning fog can last all day.  Drizzle is our norm.  And because we know gray, we always notice when there is sunshine.  I think everyone in this city stops at the sight of God rays.

I wanted to stand there forever.  To stay in the peace and glory of those golden spears.  Oh, how those rays make me still.  Oh, how their majesty puts everything in perspective.  When my eyes are captured by God rays, the whole of me is set right.  The buzz of life ceases.  The glory of Yahweh pierces my heart.  And I remember Who He is.  I remember that, no matter how dark and dull and gray my circumstances are, His glory is there too.

Let’s be clear about this:  God doesn’t change.  His glory is constant.  His Love is vast and powerful.  His power is immeasurably incredible.  But, there is something that changes: Me. I change.  I turn.  I get busy.  I don’t always see Him.  I don’t always see His glory, His Love, His power.

I can’t pretend it’s not true.  I have walked through too much to say otherwise.  The simple truth is: The times I have mostly deeply experienced the immense glory of God are the times when I have been in the thick of darkness, pain, and hopelessness.

It’s simple math.  When there is darkness, I remember my need for Him.  When I need Him, I look to see Him.  And when I look to see Him, I do.  He is always there, but there is something about the fog of my life that reminds me to look for Him.  I hate to say it:  It’s almost like I need dull skies. {sigh}

That’s why I need to remember:  Don’t be dismayed when fog creeps in.  Don’t be afraid with darkness comes.  Yahweh’s glory has not disappeared.  God’s love has not changed.  Look with expectancy.  Look for the God rays.  Those dull skies give contrast. I will see His glory.

This month we are, once again, feeling the chest-grabbing pressure that comes when work does not.  When paid gigs are few, a constant underlying feeling of panic are plenty.  The skies dull.  The darkness feels so heavy.  And, amidst these dull skies, we wonder, what is Yahweh’s plan to meet our needs?  We know and trust Him.  He has never failed to provide for our needs.  We believe His promises. But… When?! How?!

In this Christmas-season, I am drawn to think about the waiting of Israel.  How did they survive the 400 years of silence after the prophetic words of Malachi told them “the great and awesome day of the LORD” was coming?  God’s people waited for so long for their promised Messiah.  Amidst those years of dull skies, did they cry out, what is Yahweh’s plan to meet our needs?  We know and trust Him.  He has never failed to provide for our needs.  We believe His promises. But… When?! How?!

Then, suddenly, glory burst against the darkness.  Jehovah Jireh’s Lamb arrived!  Their awaited Messiah was with them!  Emmanuel! The Light in the dark! The King Redeemer. The Answer.  No wonder they cried: Hosanna! (Save now!)

This Christmas season feels like a dark one for us.  Dull skies that seem void of hope.  But the morning fog and Israel’s waiting have challenged me to lift my heart in expectation.  To lean towards the eastern skies of my life and watch for God rays.  To wait with anticipation.  To trust.  To expect. To hope.

I am searching the dull skies of my circumstances for the transforming glory of God. He will provide.  And this dark backdrop is a contrast gift.  Hosanna! (Save now!)

O LORD, you are my light; yes, LORD, you light up my darkness. (2 Sam 22:29 NLT)

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Confession: I started writing this post in November but, because of a terrible mix of pride and shame, I didn’t post it.  I’m embarrassed that we are still in this place of need.  I’m frustrated that we are still looking for stable work and are still living month to month.  I want to have positive things to post.  I want to have confident and strong words to say.  I want to have posts that say, “I know stuff. I’m successful. We are ‘blessed.’ You can learn from how great my life is.”  Like I said, a terrible mix of pride and shame.  Honestly, I’m sick of listening to myself struggle.  I’m sure my friends are sick listening to me too.  And so I lost the heart to write.  I’ve been uninspired and disheartened.  But over the past few weeks I’ve had conversations with people who are struggling too.  And hearing their stories reminded me that, for me, the best encouragement I’ve received has been from people who are in the midst of hard times themselves.  And so I’m setting aside the pride and the shame and posting the words that flow from my uninspired and disheartened place.  Hosanna. Selah.

One thought on “Dull Skies and God Rays

  1. Jessie Clemence says:

    I’m not sick of hearing about your life! Your struggles give me specific and dear encouragement when I face trials of my own. You keep plugging along, looking for the God rays in every situation. And it reminds me to do the same.

    So thank you. But I will keep praying for more sunny days and less gloomy days, just for your mental health’s sake. 🙂

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