“I gotta say, I’m a fan.” This was my spontaneous reaction recently when I noticed the breathtaking cloud formations from the window of an airplane gliding over the California desert. A little prayer of acknowledgement for the astounding imagination of the Creator, my God and my friend, whose Holy Spirit stirs in my chest at the recognition of his brilliance and thoughtfulness.
Taken with my smartphone over the California desert.
I’m all about creativity. God has wired me that way. In fact, everyone is wired for creativity, even if they don’t know it, because we are all made in His image and He is undeniably creative. And to me, the daily presence of clouds may be one of His best creative shows. Yes, sunrises and sunsets are magnificent; they announce hope in the morning and rest at night. But they last minutes. Clouds are often visible for hours, and they constantly change, creating one majestic masterpiece after another. I can’t imagine how a person would not at least wonder about the existence of God when this show is visible day after day.
A cloud pillar.
The bible has a lot to say about clouds, including them in some of the most important moments in history. God led the Israelites to the promised land with a “Pillar of Cloud” (Exodus 13:21), and a cloud carried His presence in the Hebrew tabernacle and temple (Ex. 40:34). God appeared in a cloud and spoke at Jesus’ transfiguration (Mt. 17:1-8, Mk. 9:7, Lk. 9:34). Jesus will come back on the clouds (Dan. 7:13-14, Mt. 24:30, Mt. 26:64), in fact every eye will see him in the clouds (Rev. 1:7), and believers will join him in the clouds (I Thes. 4:17). I think its safe to say that God likes clouds.
Someone captured this scene of what looks like an image of Jesus in the clouds.
The science of clouds inspires joy in me, as well. They are such a meaningful part of the health of our planet, playing a central role in the water cycle; absorbing, storing, and releasing moisture. The way they reflect, refract, and filter light is astonishing. The bible even gave us a clue as to why they are visible when most water vapor is invisible. Nahum 1:3 says, “His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.” Science has discovered that its not only the cold of the upper atmosphere that enables the water vapors in clouds to condense and be visible to us, but its also the fact that that vapor is able to attach to tiny dust particles. The dust of God’s feet.
Small clouds creating large shadows in the desert floor.
I love the way that clouds can create such gigantic shadows on the ground. It’s incredible to see
that from the perspective of 15,000 feet, and also interesting to think that someone on the ground just had their sunny pool day ruined. That brings to mind the scientific and philosophical truth that the sun is always shining above the clouds.
A cloud army.
“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be?–it is the same the angels breathe.” Mark Twain, Roughing it.
This cloud formation to the right reminded me of an army of angels advancing to do God’s work in answer to our prayers.
A anvil cumulus cloud, one of my favorite types. This shot came from a NASA site.
I searched for a poem that would say how I felt about these miracles of moisture, and there are many wonderful works to choose from, but none were quite right. I heard someone give writing advice once that went something like, “If you want to read about something, but it hasn’t been written yet, then maybe you should write it.”
So… here is my attempt at a cloud poem.
I’m endlessly enthralled with clouds.
Wedding white and mystery gray,
Constantly changing, breaking up the day,
With shadow and light and shapes that confound,
A touch of God-glory, just hanging around.
Only God could produce glorious beauty out of simple dust and water vapor. Clouds. Yep, Lord, I am a fan.
More about clouds:
Wikipedia has a very good page on clouds.
Here is time-lapse video of an incredible cloud event over Scotland.