Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Clouds & Warm Cocoa

"And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses."  Exodus 33:9  (KJV)

I am clinging to the last days of winter...I am not a big fan of hot weather, so I am dreading seeing the cool weather and comforts of winter come to another close.  I love the crisp, breezy days.  I love opening the windows just enough to feel the fresh air as it blows the curtains, and the cool nights sitting on the porch, talking to God.  I love standing outside our back door, looking at the stars on a clear night and seeing my breath as it hits the cold, night air.  I love the absence of mosquitoes!  What wonders God provides for us in this life!  He is so good.

As I relish the last weeks of winter and find myself not looking forward to the heat up ahead, I enjoy taking long, slow sips of my favorite hot drink.  It's a homemade concoction that includes unsweetened cocoa powder, honey, and milk  Sorry, I don't have a is just something I came up with on my own, since I love hot chocolate, but try to avoid sugar and the artificial sweeteners found in sugar-free products.  I just mix the three ingredients in my favorite pot on the stove, to taste, and I don't ever measure anything.  It is wonderful....smooth and creamy and delicious.  And it is comforting to me.  Especially on cold days when we are staying home.

I have a favorite mug that I like to drink it dear friend, Wanda, sent it to me for my last birthday.  It is the prettiest combination of a fuchsia-pink and orange with sagey-type green letters sprinkled in with black and white, and this is what it says....

On the front - "We'll be friends until the end of time....
On the back - "then we'll hang out at each other's mansions and what not...splash around in the chocolate fountain....You know, Heaven stuff."
On the inside - "A friend loves at all times."  Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

I think of Wanda and chocolate and our special memories each time I hold it.  Somehow, drinking from it, it makes my choice concoction even more enjoyable....and sweeter.

I made a cup for myself today while Zachary was finishing up school.  We started learning Geometry today!  Wow!  How could it be possible that he could be old enough to already be learning this stuff??  Unbelievable.  He panicked when he saw it was coming up, but as we plowed through it together, we both agreed that it was really kind of fun.

I stood sipping my favorite warm drink from my favorite mug while looking out the kitchen window at the dreary, overcast sky.  And I felt at peace.  I love days like this...I know it sounds odd.  But days that are overcast and cloudy make me feel a sense of solace and the nearness of God.  Am I the only person who feels this way?

I have found God on cloudy days.  During dreary times in my life.  On days without the sun.  He has been a very real sense to me.

In Exodus 19:9, we read, "And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever."  In today's passage of Scripture and on several other occasions, God's presence descended in the form of a cloud.  And it was a cloud that led the Israelites during the day, remember?

We sing a song that says, "When I look o'er the past, I behold, how His wide arms of mercy held me..."  Looking back over my life, there have been wonderful, sunny days....and there have been some cloudy times.  Times when I wasn't sure of my next step.  Times I felt alone and forsaken, though I had tried hard to please Him.  There have been moments when the darkness has seemed impenetrable and unending.

But, it was in those times...when the clouds hovered near...and I couldn't see the sun no matter where I looked....that I paused and heard the voice of God.   He has come to me in a thick cloud on more than one occasion.  I have felt Him so near, though I couldn't trace His hand or see any outward sign of Him.  He was there...I could sense it.

Clouds....we see them, and our perception of them is that they are hiding the sun.  They are keeping us indoors.  They are casting shadows and gloom.  When all along, God is wanting to speak to get us to be still...and quiet....and willing to listen.

Are there clouds hovering over you today?  Do circumstances threaten to completely block out the sun?  Do you feel like you are in a black hole?  God is with you, my friend.  You are not alone.  You will never be alone.  He dwells in the thick clouds...the thick darkness.  And His love always pierces through, just in time.

Take a moment....just now.  He's the shadows...and all He wants is for you to listen.

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