Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide with Me! by Reyna I. Aburto
Content by Melinda Peterson
I know the clouds of anxiety and depression. I know them intimately and resentfully. They block the light during the day and keep me up in the darkness of the night. Everything is dull and gray and doesn’t feel quite right when they’re around. There is no silver lining. The light at the end of the tunnel is more like a flicker than a pillar of fire--if I can even see it at all. It’s just cold and dark and painful. Which is why I could never quite understand why the Lord would ever represent Himself as a cloud.
When I was first diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and clinical depression, I wanted deliverance, thank you very much. I wanted deliverance in the way of the children of Israel. I knew my God and what He was capable of. My God delivers His people. He is a Deliverer. And just as He fought for the children of Israel on the shores of the Red Sea and parted it for them to cross, delivering them from their enemy, I knew that He would deliver me from my own enemy. Because that is who He is. That is what He does.
What I forgot about the story of the children of Israel was that after the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea came forty years in the wilderness. Forty years of wandering. Forty years of waiting.
Every single morning when the children of Israel awoke, they were greeted with a cloud. And every single evening, when night fell, a pillar of fire watched over them as they slept. A cloud by day bringing shade and living water, a light at night shining in the darkness. A reminder of God’s presence. Always. Unchangingly. Something they could always rely on.
The other day while I was alone in my car, I sang aloud the words to the hymn "Abide with Me." And as I sang the words a phrase pierced my soul. “Oh, thou who changest not, abide with me!”
And as I thought about that, I realized that sometimes His deliverance is His presence.
Now, when I picture the Lord as a cloud, it reminds me that even though I cannot see Him or even feel His presence as I walk through my own seemingly unending wilderness, He is still with me. A cloud by day. A pillar of fire by night. “Thou who changest not.” He is in the cloud with me. He is the light at the end of the tunnel.
His presence is His deliverance.
“But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for you brought up this people in your might from among them, and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O Lord, are in the midst of this people. For you, O Lord, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.’”
Numbers 14:13-14 ESV
I AM STATEMENT
I am in His presence, always.
FAITH IN ACTION
Every night this week, write down one way you saw or felt the Lord's presence in your life.
For those who struggle with mental illness, feeling the presence of the Lord is often difficult. Ministering brothers and sisters can help those who struggle with this to feel the presence of the Lord by being present in the lives of those they minister to. He sends us in His place. Pray to know how He would minister to those you have stewardship over this week and then go and do.
Beautiful words from Melinda!