“Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:7, emphasis mine)
He cometh with clouds. I think about this verse sometimes when the sky turns overcast and especially when cumulus (or cumulonimbus) clouds begin to bloom and billow into the blue. They really give a sense of scale to the sky. They also serve as a reminder of Heaven. Regarding the next statement (“every eye shall see Him”), at this point in my life, I am amazed there is an entire subculture that believes the earth is flat. I was going to say “still believes” but anyone who believed the earth was flat 500 years ago is no longer with us. I digress. But think about it: how can “every eye…see Him” when He returns if the earth is spherical? Doesn’t make any sense, does it? But I believe in God and I believe also in Jesus (see John 14:1) and therefore everything else will iron itself out.
I also believe the earth is round, just so you know.
“Ascribe ye strength unto God: His excellency is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds.” (Psalm 68:34, emphasis mine)
What do clouds do? They play key roles in the ecologies of the hydrosphere and atmosphere, of course. The hydrology cycle of evaporation-into-clouds-into-rain keeps things flowing, literally and figuratively. Symbolically-speaking, they float by and shift and change and serve as probably the most common cause of pareidolia in human beings. (That cloud looks like a duck!) I remember one time in the back seat of my dad’s car, looking out at the sky. The clouds in the distance (nimbostratus and altocumulus, if I had to guess) had curved around near the horizon and angled up in the shape of a shoreline. In the same panoramic view, another type (not sure what, perhaps stratocumulus) served as a depiction of the ocean, complete with ripples. The entire sky looked like the ocean. It was surreal, happening in front of me in the far distance while we drove down the street. Perhaps it symbolized the spiritual expanse that was to spread out before me in the ensuing years. Who knows. Either way, the beauty of that moment was indeed a source of strength. That God could show me the ocean in the sky meant that He could do anything. The whole moment was one big silver lining.
“He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before Him His thick clouds passed” (Psalm 18:11-12a)
“Clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne.” (Psalm 97:2)
Another cloud-inspired moment, probably the most memorable to date, happened a few years later. I found myself at a park situated on the top of a slight hill at the periphery of the numerous subdivisions on the east side of town. The sun was setting and it was most likely springtime. That afternoon, the entire western sky played theater to the most intricate, fluffy and numerous clouds I’ve ever seen. Warm, yellow sunlight diffused throughout and rendered the scene one of the most beautiful depictions of the sky I’ve ever seen. Different size clouds floated by within, their edges and shape rendered in intricate detail by the backdrop of the light. Light that was golden and beautiful but that didn’t hold a candle to God’s brightness.
“His way is in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.” (Nahum 1:3, emphasis mine)
Regarding the above verse, God is either coming or going. Coming to bless you, reward you, interact with you or else leaving from having done the same. Clouds also remind me of the verse from Nahum. I think Dear Lord! God was just here! Far from reminding me of something similar-looking (like simple pareidolia), the idea that God is actively working on my behalf comes to mind. The clouds don’t just mean rain or blues or even that I won’t have to worry about wildfires this summer because of the welcome spring rains. They mean God is there and that He is working on my behalf. He’s doing the same for you.