Mount Rainier in Washington state is spectacular. This giant dormant volcano rises 14,410 feet above sea level and 2 ½ miles above the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately, however, Mount Rainier stays hidden behind clouds through most of the year. Even when the clouds around Rainier break up, one can easily mistake the mountain itself for a large cloud mass because of its heavy snow cover. Yes, Mount Rainier spends most of its time hiding from our view, giving only rare glimpses of its beauty.
Yet I strongly suspect that, if I were on top of Mount Rainier, I would see things differently. I would see that the clouds are not covering and hiding Mount Rainier. The clouds are covering us. For the heavy cloud cover lies at a very low altitude – somewhere about 1000 feet high and 13,000 feet, below the mighty Mount Rainier. Therefore, if we stood on the slopes of Mount Rainier we would see clear blue sky above and around us. But down below would be a blanket of clouds, shrouding us – not the mountain. So, we are the ones hiding beneath the clouds, while Mount Rainier rises above them.
Occasionally in the Psalms we read the prayers of discouraged and despairing saints who thought that God had hidden Himself from them and shrouded Himself from their view. In Psalm 89:46 we read, “How long, O LORD? Will You hide Yourself forever?” And again, “Listen to my prayer, O God, and do not hide Yourself from my supplication” (Psalm 55:1). I’ve found myself praying prayers like that. “Where are You, Lord, when I need you most? Why are You silent when I so badly need Your counsel and encouragement?”
Yet it’s not God who’s hiding. It’s not God who’s lost in the clouds. We are the ones lost in the low-lying clouds of confusion, anger, ingratitude, doubt, and depression.
God has made Himself as plain as Mount Rainier glowing in the sunlight. But the problem is that our sour attitudes and hard-heartedness obscure our view of Him. If we would only cultivate an attitude of gratitude our burdens would lighten and our eyelids would open. Then we would see all the good things that God has poured into our lives.
In the Psalms we also read, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies announce what his hands have made. Day after day they tell the story; night after night they tell it again. They have no speech or words; they have no voice to be heard. But their message goes out through all the world; their words go everywhere on earth” (Psalm 19:1-4, New Century Version). God’s story of creation and love is proclaimed all around us – through the world He made and through the gifts He lavishes on us every day.
Dear Father in heaven, please sweeten my sour spirit and help me to look up and give You thanks. Help me to worship You, O Lord, that the Spirit of God will blow away the clouds of doubt and discontent and allow me to see You clearly. Amen.
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