October 09, 2009
Friday - A Dose of Daily Inspiration - Girlfriends in God
October 9, 2009 The Dark Cloud Leslie Nease
We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions. We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends. From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our "Friday Friends." So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend", Leslie Nease.
Today's Truth "For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness'" Ezekiel 34:11-12
Friend To Friend Ever have one of those days when you feel like there is a dark cloud following you around? It's like a heaviness that keeps you almost paralyzed with fear or frustration. Honestly, it can be quite overwhelming. Am I speaking your language?
These "cloudy" days come at such unexpected times - usually the most inopportune times, if you ask me. Yesterday was one of those days for me. I had this overpowering feeling of dread. All day I tried to figure it out but was so busy getting the kids in school that I couldn't really stop and find a solution. Last night, my husband and I took a long walk and we talked about it. He said "Just be still and rest tomorrow. Slow down and just try to get alone with God. You will figure it out."
This morning, I decided it was time. So I prayed, opened my Bible and began my search for answers. I don't want another day like yesterday! I read my daily Bible reading and came across this verse in Psalm 105:39 "The Lord spread a cloud above them as a covering and gave them a great fire to light the darkness." He was talking about the Israelites during their Exodus out of Egypt. I like the thought that God "covered" them with this cloud. It almost seemed protective and not scary at all. I thought that was very interesting, so I decided to look up all the instances where the word "cloud" was mentioned.
The word "cloud" is mentioned 153 times in the Bible and the vast majority of those times, it was used to describe God's presence. Interesting! When God's presence was in the form of a thick cloud at the Tabernacle, the Israelites camped out and didn't move. Once the cloud would lift, they would pack up camp and move on.
Numbers 9:20-22 says: "Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD's command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out."
The Israelites were commanded by God to be still when the cloud was present. This truth is certainly not lost on me. I think my husband was absolutely right. God may be trying to get my attention with this heavy, dark cloud He has allowed to come over me. I need to camp out, slow down and seek Him with everything in me until the cloud disappears.
I can't say the cloud has completely lifted as of yet, but I can say with great confidence that I have met with the Creator of the Universe in my dark, cloudy day and He has shown me great fire to light the darkness. When He blacked out the rest of the world, He slowed me down so I could focus on His promises. He has shown me Light in this darkness that I would not have seen had I not experienced the cloud. If you have a cloud hovering over you today, seek Him. He is in the darkness and He is waiting to meet with you. In fact, the cloud could be His blessed invitation to meet one on one with Him! What a privilege!
Let's Pray Father, I thank You for Your unfathomable ways. You are so good, so persistent and so patient with me. I pray that when a heavy, dark day comes my way that instead of succumbing to the heaviness that I will look to the Light of Your presence and seek You instead of hiding under the covers. Please remind me daily of the privilege of having a God who cares, who slows me down when I'm going too fast and gives me everything I need. I love You.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Now It's Your Turn Can you trust God even in the dark days of this world? What practical steps will you take the next time one of these days presents itself to avoid falling into the temptation to give up?
Take a few minutes to spend and read Psalm 23, meditating on the truths of this amazing passage of Scripture. Write down the promises that our Shepherd gives to us so you can refer to them the next time the cloud comes your way.
Pray to the Lord and thank Him for the dark days that help us to appreciate those days of Light that much more!
More From The Girlfriends Leslie Nease is a women's and youth ministry speaker and writer who resides in Tega Cay, SC. Her ministry is called "Get Gutsy for God." She is a former Christian radio host for New Life 91.9 and 106.9 The Light and was a contestant on the hit reality show "Survivor China" in 2007. For more information on her ministry and to find her blog and some free resources and encouragement, please visit her at www.leslienease.com. You can also find her on facebook at www.facebook.com/leslienease.
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