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God in the Clouds

a "Travel and Arrival" blog by Joel Hinck, Pastoral Intern  |  

For days we never saw the sky. As we drove west the smoke from blazing forest fires covered the landscape in a dull grey, stinging in our nostrils and hiding all but the vaguest shapes of the mountains around us. The mountains were lurking giants, hiding just out of sight—we could sense their presence, but couldn't see their features. Finally, on the day we would be arriving in Vancouver, we stepped out of our hotel in the morning and saw blue sky above us. We drove along the Columbia River and marveled at the beauty all around, arriving at our new home full of excitement. This much, at least, we could see clearly.

Our story has been full of clouds, hiding all but the most immediate circumstances while we long to catch a glimpse, just a peek, of what lies ahead. We have journeyed from Baltimore to Durham, to Minneapolis, and now to Vancouver, never knowing where God would lead us next. This has given new meaning to the story of the Israelites being led by a cloud. The cloud would obscure what was coming next, even as it indicated the direction to move. Scripture is full of such clouds: filling (and concealing the inner workings of) the tabernacle, covering Moses' holy dealings with God on Mt. Sinai, even falling around the disciples after the moment of clarity that was the transfiguration.

It has taken some time to accept that the cloud itself can be holy, that "tomorrow will worry about itself" (Matthew 6:34), and that sometimes all I need to know is where God has brought me in this moment. God has brought us to Messiah. This much, at least, we can see clearly. For today, that is more than enough. 

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