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Clouds at Sunrise

What does it take to have a beautiful sunrise? If the sky is cloudless, the sunrise will be pretty but often does not stand out as amazing. Once the sun is over the horizon, the event is over. On foggy or smoke-filled days, the orange disc rising above the horizon on a clear day can be spectacular. This past fall season the forest fires in the west sent beautiful sunrises our way on the cloudless days. But to have majestic sunrises you need a combination of clouds and clear patches. The best sunrises come when the sun is still below the horizon and its rays are shining through holes in the clouds to illuminate the underside of the clouds. The oranges, reds, and purples can fill the sky in spectacular ways. Often, I just stand in awe of how God has used His paint brush in nature to bring us such beauty.

It has been said that all sunshine makes for a desert and all rain makes for a rainforest. As in most situations of life, the best place is somewhere in the middle. Clouds are usually associated with storms or at least rain coming. Yet clouds are extremely important because with them comes the earth’s needed moisture. Farmers need the rain for their crops, rivers need the water for navigation, reservoirs need water for the survival of the surrounding population, and the clouds can deliver the needed relief.

In the life of the Christian clouds can be associated with gloomy, bad times. If one is honest about life, it does not take too long to realize that clouds are a part of life even with the most dedicated Christian. Yet like the morning sunrise, when the light of Christ shines through those clouds, one can begin to see the hand of the Creator at work. Suffering from an illness or a loss can be a very cloudy time in the Christian’s life. But many Christians have said that they never felt closer to God than when they were suffering. Richard Rohr has said that suffering is when we are not in control. It is exactly at that point where we need to stop grasping at control, let go, and let God take over. If the clouds of my life draw me closer and closer to God, why would I pray for their removal? If they will let the light of Christ shine through in ways never seen before, then we should let them be the blessing they were intended to be. Our prayers should not be for the removal of the clouds, but for us to see the light of Christ in their midst. Christ will paint beautiful “sunrises” in our lives as He shines through our clouds if we let Him.

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