“Clouds got in my way …”


In 1967, Joni Mitchell wrote the song “Both Sides Now”, a haunting song of many verses:

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

The song has several other verses.  She wrote it after reading a book where the author was talking about flying over Africa and how due to modern technology we can fly above the clouds and see them from both sides (verse 1) and then in day-to-day life (verse 2) what clouds mean.   She told in an interview that it occurred to her that we should see both sides to everything and not be afraid to die, it is just another side of where we are now.  What clouds are in your life now? Which one is the one to follow?  Do you ponder the clouds?

Over the past couple of weeks I have had clouds come up in several things I have read.  I found over 147 times in the Bible where God refers to or uses cloud(s). God used a cloud to guide Moses and the children of Israel through the desert. The cloud stopped, they stopped … it moved, they moved.  In a book I just finished reading the girl prays for God to guide her in choices by helping her follow His “cloud”.  I heard Joni Mitchell’s song on the radio this week and started thinking about the “cloud” God is using in my life now.  Then yesterday I was walking through Annapolis with my good friend Karen and looking at a clear blustering sky with varying sizes of clouds. I told her of God using “clouds” to guide me.

Figuratively, clouds are everywhere.  There is a “cloud” on my blog that helps people find this post based on the key words they put in their browser.  When I stare at the clouds in the sky I imagine I see shapes.  Phil and I sometimes look up and show each other those shapes.  We laugh and share stories based on what is brought to mind.

I can look to the sky and there are all types of clouds depending on the day and I decide if I need to dress for cold, rain or heat.  The weatherman tells us what clouds are coming and what to expect.  “Clouds” help us to decide many things if we consider them and look at them from both sides.  In life these “clouds” take many shapes. God places “clouds” and more specifically A CLOUD in our life to guide us.    Looking at the cloud from both sides  (His and ours) and taking the time to think about it in prayer with Him, helps us to make decisions.  God still guides us today through our “cloud”. You know what it is and you choose to follow the “cloud” or make a conscious decision to ignore the way you need to go.  When you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit will guide you in your daily and life’s decisions.  Remember, as parents, how you make your decisions  is how you teach your children to make decisions.   What do they see you do when faced with a choice?

The Bible says,

James 1:5 HCSB
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.”

Unlike the song,

“It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all”,

we can look towards Him with full confidence; with no disillusionment and know our “cloud” will guide if we will only follow Him.

Does the Donkey Need to Talk?


What's He Saying?

Delores, my mother’s BFF of 85 years, was at her funeral.  They were maid/matron of honor at each others’ weddings.  Delores’ daughters and mom’s five grew up like cousins and in fact attended each others family events.  We have a lot of memories.  One of my favorite memories is from my bridal shower that Delores hosted at her home.  She invited about 60 women from our church.  At that time they had been BFF’s for over 50 years and Delores could not resist a good tongue in cheek joke on my mom.  As an ice breaker every woman had a Bible character’s name placed on their back as they came in the door.  Once everyone was in the door we were instructed to go up to people and ask questions to try to figure out whose name was on our back.  The women would look at the sticker on your back and answer ‘yes/no’  questions to help you figure out who you were.   Delores had put Balaam’s uhm … ‘donkey’ on my mom’s back.  Okay, think the GASP at the end of the horse race scene from My Fair Lady.

God has a sense of humor too.  In tough times, in our rebellious times, He gets our attention one way or another.  Numbers 22 tells the story of Balaam, a greedy man who the King of Moab asked to curse the Israelites because they were afraid of them.   On the trip to curse the Israelites God blocked the path of the donkey and when Balaam could not get the donkey to move he beat the donkey each time.   Then God had the donkey speak to Balaam and opened his eyes to the angel that blocked the path.

God blocks our paths and sometimes we try to bulldozer our way through in our own strength.  Got a toddler?  A teenager?  They just won’t listen … you know how God feels with you then.  Sometimes we forge ahead through all obstacles, standing on the belief that God is going to get us through.  But, you’re not on God’s path if you have to make your own way, if you have to beat the messenger.  God’s word says:

James 1:5-7(HCSB)5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

When you are in God’s path there will be obstacles, but there will also be ways around those obstacles made clear.  Beating your way through is not His way.

Does God need to make the Donkey talk to you today?