It was one of those perfect midwinter evenings, after the light begins to stay longer again. As I drove home, the clouds were just beginning to blush and the feathery tips of leafless trees stood out dark against them. So many shapes of clouds. Long, thin clouds like the fingers on a hand; humpbacked islands of clouds floating in a pale blue sea; and wispy suggestions of clouds like gossamer webs strung across rosebushes in spring.
I watched them, and I thought about the varied textures that God’s hands had spread across my life in just the past few days. The delightful anticipation of an upcoming trip. An unexpected funeral and a sober goodbye. A visit with someone for whom physical pain has become a constant companion. A favorable review of a project I’ve labored over. An expensive car repair. News from one friend that made me want to sing, and news from another that made me weep. So many different emotions can wring a heart till it no longer knows what to feel.
After supper I started on this evening’s project–sugar cookies for some special children in my life. I rolled out the dough, and I cut out heart shapes, one after another. Pretty, pleasing, and perfect. Predictable. There is something comforting now about the way every single cookie is lying neatly on the cooling racks, identical to the ones on either side of it.
It’s tempting to think it would comfort us to have lives more like cookies. Pretty, pleasant, predictable, and perfect. But we don’t. Our lives are like the clouds. Our circumstances are constantly shifting, shining in sunlight one moment and dissolving into raindrops the next. Every life is different, with its own unidentifiable shapes spread out across its future. None of us is even guaranteed tomorrow.
But we are guaranteed God. The faithful God who set His bow of promise in the clouds. The unchanging God who assures us that His mercies never cease, and His compassions never fail. Like rain on the earth, His Word will never fail to accomplish the purpose for which He sends it. And the Comforter has come to live within us, to live within the shifting shapes of our uncertain days, and to stir up our hearts to remember and to sing.