In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. “The clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow, bereavement, and suffering are actually the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near us without clouds— He does not come in clear-shining brightness.
It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while. Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?
There is a connection between the strange providential circumstances allowed by God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know Him.
“…they were fearful as they entered the cloud” (Luke 9:34). Is there anyone except Jesus in your cloud? If so, it will only get darker until you get to the place where there is “no one anymore, but only Jesus …” (Mark 9:8; also see Mark 2:7).
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
The great thing about faith in God is that it keeps a man undisturbed in the midst of disturbance. Notes on Isaiah, 1376 R
The word reminds me that sometimes, God just wants us to be still and have faith In Him.
When there’s a problem, or if there is something we want to do, we usually do not rest until the problem is resolved or we have completed what we want to do. Even if we cannot solve it, we do the best we can and do something about the situation. We want things solved at once, and we do what we can do achieve it. However, in today’s reading, we see that sometimes God wants us to be still.
They say that silent waters run deep. In the faith aspect, I believe that a silent and still heart, especially in times of trouble, is a sign of deep and great faith in God.
When the Israelites were being chased by the soldiers, they felt they would die already. However, as we say, if God brings you to it, he will bring you through it. God called the people out of the slavery in Egypt, and even if they felt they were hopeless and powerless against the soldiers and chariots, God is more powerful. No power in this world can stop God’s plans for our lives. God divided the sea and allowed the people to pass. Impossible situations give God the opportunity to do great miracles.
The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.
There are a lot of times we feel helpless. We already did everything we could, but situations do not seem to improve. It sometimes seem hopeless. However, we should take comfort in today’s word, in today’s promise. God is loving, faithful and powerful. We just need to have faith in Him, and allow him to fight for us.
May we be comforted and inspired to still do the best that we could, but ultimately leave the rest up to God, having full faith in his plans, his power and his love.
Thank you for today. Thank you for another day to live. thank you for another week. Thank you for all the blessings. Thank you for the reminders. Lord, I am sorry for the times I lose faith in you. sorry for doubting you. sorry for the times I panic and think that everything is up to me. Help me build and strengthen my faith in you. help me trust in you, especially during seemingly hopeless situations. I just lift up everything to you. I know that as I do my best to live right and live for you, you will continue to bless and protect me. amen.
by: Marianne Williamson
Every morning when you wake up, your mind is more open to receive new impressions than at any other time. If you go directly to the news as the world defines it—to a newspaper, to radio or television that reports on the anguish and the despair of the world—and particularly if you add caffeine, don’t be mystified if you are depressed by noon. Turn to meditation or inspirational reading or whatever spiritual source material puts your mind and heart on track—on track with God’s will and on track with the deepest love, for the two are the same.
The level of thought is the level of cause. The level of your life experience manifested in the world is the level of effect. Therefore in order to change your life, you must change the nature of your thinking. Often the problem, however, is that this can be much easier said than done. And that is why spirituality supersedes traditional psychology. Sometimes it is difficult to change our thoughts. Sometimes our mental habits were formed very, very early in childhood and they represent the teaching and training of a fear-based world. And that is why we go to God. He renews your life by renewing your mind. But He cannot take from you what you will not release to Him. Take time to release to God all energies within you, all thoughts and feelings, all character defects, all wounds within you, which you know limit your life, block your growth, and keep from you the radiance and joy, which is your natural inheritance as a child of God.
As it is said in A Course in Miracles, it is not enough to bring the light to the darkness; we must bring the darkness to the light. If you go to the doctor with a broken hand, it’s not good enough to show the doctor your knee. Rather, we give to God, we place on the altar all that is wounded, all that is dark, all that is neurotic, and all that is painful in order that the spirit of God might lift up all that is low to that which is high, make all that is weak now strong, make all that is poor now rich and all that is bound by fear released into the arms of love. God Himself would replace all darkness with light. Make yourself available for the experience—and miracles will follow.
Here is a Morning Meditation for you to try:
We see in the middle of our mind a little ball of golden light. We watch this light as it begins to grow larger and larger. Until now, it covers the entire inner vision of our mind. You see for yourself in this light a beautiful temple. You see a garden that surrounds the temple and a body of water that flows through the garden. You see that the inside of the temple is lit by this same beautiful golden light. And here you are, for you have been born to this day in the spirit and grace of God. We surrender who we are. We surrender this day. May only God’s will prevail. You open your heart to all living things.
Thank you, God, for this day. Thank you for this new chance, this new opportunity for life. We call to mind everything that will happen on this day. Call to mind all the people in your life. For the relationships that are good and peaceful and abundant. Give thanks in your heart and commit within to participate even more fully, even more compassionately, to be even a greater space of love for these people with whom you share the fruits and goodness of your life. We place all these relationships in the hands of God.
Now gently call to mind the people with whom you are not in good relationship, the people or situations that annoy you, the burdens, the questions, the problems that you carry. Do not push them away. Do not allow yourself to become distracted. Rather call to mind all the burdens on your heart and gently, tenderly deliver them into the hands of God. In the mind of God lies a perfect day. You surrender now who you were yesterday. And ask that the spirit of God enter into you and lift you up to the better angel of your being.
May the spirit of God come upon you and smooth out all your rough edges. May the spirit of God come upon you and remove every burden you carry.
A path lies before you of perfect grace. It exists. Take the hand now of your Divine guide, be it an angel, be it Jesus, be it the presence of an amorphous light, allow your guiding light to walk across the bridge from your old self lost in fear and limitation and ego and pain, released now to the possibility of unlimited grace and radiance through the power and presence of God.
Give meaning to my life, health to my body and graciousness to my heart on this day and every day, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, for me and for all humankind. Amen.
By Mary Ellen Dunford, affiliate
For every individual there are many different approaches to prayer. It is a personal preference with one way not better or worse than another. Yet we would all agree that the purpose of prayer is to bring us closer to God. Prayer nurtures our relationship with God and deepens our spirituality. During this past Lent a local church held a Prayer-A-Thon. For 40 hours they offered 40 different types of prayer. Each prayer session was one hour. Some of the prayer types included the rosary, Stations of the Cross, Litany of Saints, Lectio Divina, praying the 10 commandments, dance, singing, Taize, journal writing, prayer with nature, drumming, couples prayer, healing touch and walking the labyrinth. It was a wonderful opportunity for people to experience different ways to connect with God and share their experience with others.
To St. Francis and St. Clare prayer was an important part of their tradition. They set aside time for daily liturgical prayer, community prayer and praying alone. Francis felt prayer was a necessary condition for following in the footsteps of Jesus who encouraged his followers to “pray always.” Like Francis and Clare, Jesus calls us to live a life of prayer and to live in communion. To pray always is to find oneself in prayerful communion with God and others while working, playing and experiencing all of the extraordinary and ordinary activities of daily life. Our daily living activities are not distractions from prayer but the source of meaningful prayer. Quoting Richard Rohr, “Prayer is the life of the one who prays.” Prayer is a relationship with God and the universe. Like all meaningful relationships, it takes intentional time and energy. If we are awake and present to the moment, we will grow in our relationship with God through every life experience.
St. Therese of Lisieux states, “For me prayer means launching out of the heart towards God; it means lifting up one’s eyes, quite simply, to heaven, a cry of grateful love, from the crest of joy or through despair.” Her emphasis is on the simplicity of prayer and that we turn to God in times of our joys and in times of challenges and discouragements.
Prayer is the path to following in the footsteps of Jesus. The Christian life calls us not only to take time out to pray but to live a life of service and to pursue peace and justice. Those that pray always are empowered and risk boldly the future.
By: Msgr. Charles Pope
September 18, 2013
Impatience is a human problem, but we moderns must surely suffer from it more acutely. This is because many of our modern conveniences create the illusion, and to some extent the reality, of instant results. Flip a switch and the lights come on. Instant downloads supply our computers with music, games, software, and almost instant information.
Any delay in this process almost certainly infuriates us. The journey from east to the west coast used to take many months in a wagon train. And now it is accomplished in four to five hours. Despite this marvel, even a 20 minute flight delay infuriates us.
I remember as a child that we would be enticed to buy a certain product, say cereal, by being able to cut off the box tops. And, having saved four of them, I could mail them in to the address, to get a certain die cast or plastic toy, or other promotional product offered by the cereal company. Instructions always said, “Allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery.” This is almost unthinkable today. What child would spend months eating cereal, clipping boxtops, and then wait 3 to 4 weeks for delivery?!
Yes, patience is a human problem, but it has a certain modern intensity about it. Expectations are premeditated resentments, and we have a lot of expectations about instant results. Thus resentments are always near at hand.
In the spiritual life especially and in personal growth we must learn to slow down to a more human pace, and also the pace of God. To many of us moderns, God is infuriatingly patient and slow. He, and the Church seem to think in terms of centuries, not a 24 hour news cycle.
And He leaves many things unresolved for quite a long time. Where was he when Hitler and Stalin and Mao and any number of unjust rulers were plying their wares? Why does he not thunder from heaven more often, as we sometimes read in the Old Testament?! Why does He not send jagged lightning bolts to destroy sinners from the face of the earth? (are you so sure you would escape?) And when will the Church he founded “get with the program” and start denouncing and excommunicating those who sinfully dissent?
Of course, while there is a place for discipline, even excommunication, the Lord warned of acting too hastily in the parable of the weeds and the wheat. The impatient field hand zealously wanted to rip out all the weeds, but the owner warned that the wheat might be harmed as well.
Many of us may well wonder what harm could come from wiping out a few sinners from the face of the Earth or expelling a few more heretics. The Lord does not explain why, but simply warns that hasty and severe actions may cause harm even to the wheat.
Yes, we are an impatient lot, no only with others, but also with ourselves. Why, we wonder can we not simply overcome certain sins by sheer force of will? Why are we not instantly more chaste, more generous, more kind, more zealous, simply by deciding to be so!? Why do prayers of deliverance and exorcism not have instant effects? Why does confession not solve sin at once by its grace?
In an instant result society, discouragement is right at hand. And even when we do make progress, suddenly setbacks are at hand. “I was doing so well!” We think.
Most confessors know by experience that perseverance is good and holy, but impatience is devilish. It is especially devilish because it tries to masquerade as piety, saying “You ought to be a saint by now!” But it is really pride. Yes it is pride to think you can go from 0 to 100 and skip all the steps the rest of us poor slobs need to make. Who am I to think I can simply lay hold of holiness by a few decisions? Holiness is far higher than I imagine in my reductive insistence that I ought to be able to lay hold of it in a moment. No, this is a journey, a journey with setbacks, and progress in fits and starts. Frankly even a lifetime may not be enough and purgatory is a likely pit stop for most of us after death.
Why so slow? Because grace builds on nature. And it is our nature to change slowly, almost imperceptibly. When I was an infant I looked nothing like I do today. Frankly my mother was grateful that I did not come forth from the womb at six feet tall and 200 lbs. No, I came forth at six pounds, sickly and dying. I was baptized immediately since I was not expected to survive. But having recovered, I have progressed today to what and who I am. But at no point could my growth be perceived. It was slow, steady, and also marked by setbacks, injury, and also growth spurts.
If this is the case with our bodies, it is also with our soul, which is the form of our body. I have made remarkable spiritual progress in the last thirty years of my life. But day by day, I noticed little change. Yet, by the grace of God I am what I am.
Sudden a rapid growth seldom lasts an is usually called cancer, a deadly disease. Healthy growth is organic, steady, slow, and almost imperceptible.
Impatience is a form of pride and it is not in wisdom that we indulge it. Scripture says,
Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. See, the rash have no integrity; but the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live. (Habakkuk 2:2-4).
Finally some words of reminder and comfort. I am not going to say who wrote these words because I have sometimes discovered that we care more who said something, than what is said. You can Google a phrase and find easily enough who wrote this. But for now let the words themselves have the necessary impact. I have little doubt these words will bless you as they have often blessed me.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability,
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
This link will take you to a funny video on our impatience! On Gloria.tv
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox