As I have said before, my family loves to hike Harney Peak. We have hiked this beautiful mountain a couple of times, but last time we had a bit of a different experience. From the top of the peak, there is a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. We eagerly did the last bit of the hike, which is by far the most strenous, and came up over the top of the peak excited to see the breathtaking reward for our hike to see – nothing. Absolutely nothing at all. The clouds surrounded the entire mountain. The kids quickly grew bored since there was nothing to look at and resorted to exploring a bit more. The colors were dull and the top wasn’t much different than the bottom on an extremely foggy day. I knew from previous hikes that there were dangerous and steep drop offs, but I couldn’t remember exactly where they were. I found myself calling out, “Be careful!” “Don’t get so close!” and all of those other mom phrases a lot less than on the previous hikes. Our kids really appreciated this bonus. The clouds were so thick and covered the dropoffs so there was an illusion of safety. My false feelings of security didn’t mean that we were safer than usual. In fact, because the danger wasn’t obvious, there was a bigger risk of falling.
I think this is so much like our lives sometimes. We have clouds surrounding our view. God desires to give us a bigger clearer view of our lives and Him. He wants our lives to be intertwined with Him, but we are surrounded by the clouds of small worries, cares and other loves. Sometimes the clouds are walls that we have erected around ourselves. You see, sometimes we would rather be surrounded by clouds than open our heart to the Heart Healer. There is a certain sense of danger that we feel when we allow God to go deeper in our lives. The clouds begin to part and we realize we aren’t so in control. It can be scary to realize that the clouds are not the view. Those things we’ve surrounded ourselves with so that we don’t have to deal with our deeper hearts feel so safe. There is an unknown deep in us that we have become masters at hiding, but God wants to bring that out. We wonder why the view isn’t all that beautiful. Sometimes the clouds part for a moment and we see glimpses of the view beyond, but then the clouds obscure our view once again. Sometimes we cling to the memory of the view and center our lives around it. “Back ten years ago, God did this in my life one time.” etc., but the view now is cloudy. The clouds come in the form of busyness, church activity (when it is in the place of intimacy with God because it is not the same thing), addictions, people-pleasing, perfectionism, aloneness, not ever being alone, unforgiveness, anger, manipulation, control and many other things that we hide behind. Essentially these are idols that cloud our view. They make sin seem less dangerous and more tolerable whether it be self-righteousness, adultery or gossip. All of these lead to bondage when God desires freedom for us and a beautiful view. When our view is clouded, things don’t appear as they truly are and our perceptions aren’t clear. God wants to be our hearts desire, but these other things are lesser gods that we give ourselves to and hide behind. Some of these lesser gods are more ‘acceptable’ than others, but God wants nothing in the way of intimacy with Him. We settle for lesser things because we can’t see the beauty that God wants to give us even for our daily lives no matter the season that we are in.
I can’t help but think of the biography of Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ. Despite the title, this has probably been one of the most uplifting books I have ever read. He went through unbelievable torture and was in prison for fifteen horrific YEARS! Despite his extremely difficult circumstances, the guards could not take away his joy. His joy was so evident that it became the guards’ sole purpose to take it from him. In fact, the more they tortured and taunted, the more joy he experienced. He had a clear view on the mountaintop, otherwise he would have never been to endure this hardship. Because of his joy, one tormentor stopped in the middle of a torture session and decided that the lie he was living was worth less than the Truth that Wurmbrand was living from. He stopped mid-torture and saw the view too and gave his life to God. When we see the view we can proclaim to others that the view is not the clouds, but something far greater beyond.
If the view is not as beautiful as we expected or were promised, perhaps we have a few clouds obscuring our view. Isaiah 49:23 says that those who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed. Maybe our hope is more in other things like a good life or in things related to God like church or other Christians but not God Himself. If we’re disappointed with the view, I think the problem may be the clouds – not the view. Let’s ask God what things may be obscuring our view and allow Him to part the clouds. Our obscured view can be evident in disillusionment, indifference, discouragement, depression, hopelessness, lack of love and many other things. Thankfully, God knows what our personal clouds are and He wants them gone more than we do. John and I were so disappointed that the kids couldn’t experience the view that time. We wanted to enjoy the beauty together and had we had the ability, we definitely would have scooted those clouds over, but obviously we don’t have that power. Thankfully, God does, but we have to be willing to part with the clouds in favor of the clear view. The problem is that sometimes we love the clouds because we think they’re the beautiful thing, but in reality they obscure the true beauty. Let’s take the time to sit in the quiet and ask God what the clouds in our life may be that are obscuring the view of Him that He longs for us to see. When He shows us the clouds, we need to repent and allow Him to heal those places that have been broken from wrong thinking, past hurts and sin. Don’t be afraid to hope in the Lord – you will not be disappointed. Disappointment may come from people, church, jobs, life events, death etc, but never Him. When we believe our disappointment is Him, our view is obscured. Let’s ask Him to help us to see Him, to know Him and to love Him. Jeremiah 29:13 says that when we seek Him we WILL find Him. Parting the clouds is a process that He brings us through. It’s a PROCESS of letting go of the wrong things and embracing Him. Clouds don’t usually suddenly disappear, but gradually part giving way to a clearer view.
Lord, please help us to embrace You and let go of those things that obscure our view. Please part the clouds so that we can see You clearly.