God calls us to be a prophetic people who hear his voice, who feel what he is passionate about, and who see what he is doing in our world. Seeing sometimes occurs through a supernatural vision (like Elisha's servant having his eyes open to see into the spiritual realm) or simply through a mental picture in our mind. It can also occur by receiving "insight" (literally to "see into") into what we see with our natural eyes. Jesus often brought out amazing truths about God from the everyday aspects of life. His parables are a great example of this.
The other day I was looking over a valley near our house and this is what I saw. In fact, I took a quick picture of it on my phone.
As I stopped and reflected on what I was seeing, this is what I sensed God was saying to me ...
Across the landscape, there are some areas bathed in sunshine, while others are in the shadows. Some are experiencing light while others are in darkness. Some are feeling warmth while others feel the cold. Their experience is very real and even intense, yet they are right next to areas that are having a totally difference experience, just as real and possibly intense.
What causes the shadows? The sun is still there and shining fully but clouds block that light and create the shadows. In many ways, clouds are like the circumstances of our lives (in all shapes and sizes) which come and go but, in doing so, they can make us feel like God's love or nearness constantly changes. It doesn't, but that is our experience. Feelings are so strong and powerful that they can drive our lives.
Over time, we can grow by learning to base our lives on truth. The sun is always shining, as is God's love which is always being directed towards us. Even without external change to our circumstances, we can alter the internal landscape of our heart by our responses to what is happening externally. It's difficult, but we can choose to believe God's Word, whether it matches our circumstances or not. God is real and he is with us and he does love us.
In a moment (an instant) things can change. The clouds can clear and the sun can shine brightly on us again. Suddenly, we feel God's love. For others, this change may occur gradually over a period of time, a bit like waking up very slowly from a long deep sleep. In this case, the transition from dark to light, from shadows to sunshine, and from cold to warmth is gradual and even subtle. A person one day realizes that things have changed, although they weren't aware of the change occurring at the time.
Sometimes, extended seasons of cloudy skies can fill our lives. Everything is overcast and we feel dull and even down. Life is cold and somewhat drab. We can start to doubt that there even is a sun up there. However, we can learn things about God and ourselves during these times that we don't during other sunnier times. We learn to experience the full range of human emotion, which is a mirror of the full range of emotions God himself feels.
The weather patterns of life are beyond our control. Our choice is to trust and to place our faith in God, leaning fully in to the season we are in, so that it enriches our lives in a deep way.
My prayer for you today is that whether your life is sunshine or shadow that you will live in the truth that God does exist and that he does love you.