The Cloudiness of the Middle Moment: Remembering the Who Behind the Hidden How
Don’t leave Jerusalem, but wait here until you receive the gift I told you about,
the gift the Father has promised…the Holy Spirit.
As I began my day today with clouds and rain looming overhead, I recalled a conversation that unfolded last night when our small group read a small portion of Acts 1. After we were done taking turns reading aloud, the question was asked, “Is there anything that didn’t sit well with you?”
Ok, that was probably not the exact question, but that’s the gist, because I instantly knew what didn't sit well, or perhaps better yet, what really resonated but also caused feelings of yuck…
We had just finished reading how Jesus had appeared to his disciples at least 11 times over a 40 day period AFTER he was crucified.
The Passion Translation says that number 40 is significant as it speaks of transformation and completeness THROUGH testing – like the 40 days and nights of deluge that Noah withstood as he waited for it to abate, or the 40 days Elijah fasted, or the 40 days that Jesus was tested at the beginning of His ministry.
Now here He was, at the end of His physical-presence ministry on earth, spending another 40 days with the ones who would become His witnesses, walking with them as, “Jesus Emmanuel" during THEIR time of transformation and completeness through testing.
What is fascinating to me, and what just didn’t sit well with me at small group, was how the 40 days came to a crashing close. Jesus was literally standing within the visible presence of His disciples as their Savior, their Protector, Their Once and Future King, when suddenly, “a cloud came up under him and took him from their sight.” Like he didn’t suddenly rise up into the atmosphere before them - the Aramaic translation says, “a cloud accepted Him and covered Him from their eyes.”
and their Hope,
was suddenly hidden in a cloud.
Verse 10 says that the disciples then stared intently into the sky…that very moment resonates and yet causes a great dissonance within my spirit. I can almost hear a musical score of discord clamoring in the background as they panicked and pondered,
"Wait, what? He’s gone?!
My King? My Hope is gone?
Lord, not only did I mourn you once on the cross, but now You cause me to mourn you for a second time and this time I am left with a greater cloud of confusion.
Where are you, Lord?
Where did you go?
Oh, where is my Hope and my King?!”
I have been in this place of quandary during several seasons of following Jesus…when the very thing I thought was the answer or the path before me suddenly became enshrouded in a cloud…I can SO identify with the disciples' confusion. I mean, I believe He is who He says He is and I have even witnessed His miraculous hand on my life, and yet that belief is challenged when I cannot connect the dots to the, “How in the world will I get out of this mess or this emotion or this hardship?”
And then suddenly, in this cloudy middle moment, the disciples surrender...
Rather than believing because they can CLEARLY SEE HOW things will happen,
their belief transitions to faith
when they REMEMBER the WHO BEHIND the HIDDEN HOW...
So in full faith, they leave the last place they physically saw Jesus, the Who behind the hidden hows they faced, choosing to heed His parting words when He said to remain in Jerusalem until they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Counselor, the Guide, the Revealer of Truth, and the very Spirit of our God and King!
When things are cloudy and we cannot see the way out, how important is it to remember Jesus and, with a surrendered heart, to heed His parting words, “to remain”…
Remain until the Holy Spirit, our Comforter offers sweet comfort.
Remain until our Counselor offers discerning counsel.
Remain until our Guide shows us the way forward.
Remain until the Revealer reveals His Truth to our hearts.
Yes, remain until the Spirit of our Living God and King anchors our anxious thoughts with the sudden remembrance that His very residence is the temple within!
We cry out to you...as we face the cloudiness that today brings, help us to remember that the Holy Spirit IS the Deposit of Jesus Emmanuel, God With Us. Yes, when we are walking through the cloudy middle moments of life, help us to remember the Who behind the hidden hows ahead...help us to choose to remain in the peace of Jesus, help our hearts and minds to be still humbly surrendered in the Shadow of Your Protective Wings, and Holy Spirit, comfort our hearts, helping us to have ears to hear and eyes to see when You whisper, “…this is the way, walk in it.”
As I penned the post above, the song below began playing on Spoitfy. The melody so ministered to my heart, that I downloaded it and set it to repeat...over and over again it played and as it did, I could pictured the disciples, "looking intently into the sky" right after Jesus was consumed in the cloud, proclaiming these lyrics with full faith in their hearts ...
Hear the Word, roaring as thunder With a new, future to tell For the dry, season is over There is a cloud, beginning to swell
To the skies, heavy with blessing Lift your eyes, offer your heart Jesus Christ, opened the heavens Now we receive, the Spirit of God...
There Is a Cloud