“Ascribe ye strength unto God; his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.” Psalm 68:34
When I had awoke last Sunday morning, the sun was out and the day looked beautiful – the sky was bright blue dotted with sporadic puffy, white clouds. Time spent with the Lord was a true joy, as He encouraged my heart with new insights from Psalm 68. The first portion of verse 34 especially stood out to me: Ascribe ye strength unto God. To ascribe is to “attribute something to,” or “to regard a quality as belonging to” someone or something. Here we are told to ascribe strength unto our God… doesn’t that have something to do with our expectations of His abilities and our confidence in His character? In a message given by our pastor several weeks ago, he challenged us to have great expectations of what the Lord can accomplish in our lives. “In Heaven, you will give an account for the level of faith you had in your Father. What are you expecting – are your sights set on wondrous, glorious works of the Lord, thirsting to see His power and glory revealed in your life, your family, your community? To what extent is your faith in the God of the impossible?” Psalm 68:34 reminded me of this message, and caused me to ask myself again what I am expecting my all-mighty Father to do in the next year, the next month, the next week. He is looking to show Himself strong. How faithfully am I seeking Him, depending upon Him?
Anyway, back to the rest of the story. The day started out bright and beautiful. Time with the Lord was sweet and uplifting. We went to church. When we drove home following the service at church, however, the sun had disappeared. As the afternoon wore on, the day became dark, dull, and overcast. Still, it wasn’t raining, so after dinner and a nap, we decided to go ahead and take our customary quiet, family walk and set out to do so.
Before I move on to the rest of the story, though, I have to tell you that I am a sunshiny-day kind of a person. The cloudy, dreary, rainy ones have, beauties and blessings of their own, I know, and I really am grateful to the Lord for them (after all, if there was not rain, the lush, green loveliness of summer would not exist)… it is just that is is usually somewhat easier for me to rejoice on days when the sun is shining. (Maybe I am alone in this view, and being a sunshine-lover is just one of my personal idiosyncrasies… I have a sweet friend who forever amazes me by her sincere exclamations that she just LOVES rainy days!)
At any rate, this afternoon – though I don’t think my family guessed it – to be completely open and honest, I was feeling rather discouraged and almost grumpy (a gradually-increasing headache and a distinctly sore mouth from my recent wisdom-tooth extraction were two factors that shouldn’t have changed anything about the scenario, but sadly, did). I had my pocket-sized Bible with me and, as we walked, spent some time meditating on Psalm 68:34 again. In His rich mercy, the Lord showed me the latter portion of the verse from a completely new and very timely perspective. …His strength is in the clouds. Looking up, all I could see was clouds. Dark clouds. His strength is in the clouds. Clouds, because of their natural connection with storms, are many times associated with the trials and difficult times of life. I thought of that, and then it hit me. It is often out of the depressing, seemingly impossible situations with which we are faced that our Father comes and reveals His strength, His ability to provide, His goodness, His love, His faithfulness, His mercy. We do not have to fear or dread the “dark days” – days of trial – because He is looking to show Himself powerful even in the shadows. What joy these thoughts brought to my heart!
So, this week, whatever you are facing, may you be encouraged by these brief insights as much as I have been. You may be walking through days of sunshine; what blessings or powerful demonstrations of your Father’s goodness are you missing because you have not asked Him? You may be walking through days of darkness; remember that it is His strength, power, and love that are overshadowing you, and rest in His plan.
Special thanks to Susanna, my sweet budding-photographer sister, for the use of her beautiful photos!