Cloud Gazing



“If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the Lord” Numbers 9:19 NLT

Often I equate waiting with doing nothing and lately this has been the case in my day to day.

When school ended back in April I started asking God what He wanted of me, what part-time or full time work did He want me to seek.  

The only answer, a very familiar answer I got was, WAIT. 

I’ve been guilty this year of watching my waiting turn into laziness as we’ve struggled to pay bills and struggled to find enough at the end of the month to cover the month.

Lately, all of this waiting has somehow funneled into “what’s the point.”

Here we are at the end of the summer and I can’t help but feel as if it has all been a waste of my time.  Worse?  It all feels like it’s been a waste of resources and I can’t help but burden myself with feelings of negligence; I have not been contributing to running a household.

I’ve been taking comfort in His word and this summer. I’ve followed the Israelites out of oppression into the wilderness.  Somehow in between the pages and highlighter marks, and the uttered prayers of unbelief I feel the closest to God that I’ve ever felt in such a long time. 


There is a sense as I wander through the desert with God’s chosen people that they must have felt all. the. things.  when waiting on God to fulfill His promises to them.

For generations they have known; babes have heard it at their mother’s breast, children on their father’s knees, what God covenanted with Abraham.  Yet, there they were still wandering the desert, moving only at what seemed like God’s whim and fancy.

In my heart of hearts I know that God never wastes a moment of our lives.  Each second of my numbered days has been and will be ordained by Him.  How then, do I learn to wait with expectancy?

How do I learn to wait and still live — go about my day to day tasks — when what I really want to do is plop myself down in front of the Tabernacle, with my eyes fixed on the cloud, waiting for it to move.  What I really want to do is forsake all other things and shake my fist at the heavens and declare, “I want a shorter path!” 

This waiting seems interminable.  The summer is over and my heart feels beaten and battered.  My friend Kris told me this might happen.  She told me that I might go the whole summer without really knowing what God was planning.  She told me, the outcome is not what’s important, my obedience is. 


I’m sure God’s people struggled with understanding the point, particularly when it was so clearly obvious that there was a shorter route between Egypt and the Promised Land. 

My frustration today with the bills not paid and the school fees that are behind is thrumming deep in me like an anxious drum that doesn’t know when to stop, an incessant beat.  I lay awake at night letting fears blossom to larger-than-life while I work out the worst case scenario,because “Really, God??  You called me to wait?” 

There are so many days when all I long for is the shortest route through the desert – when I want to understand the point of all of this trusting and waiting.   Because, there is a purpose.  Right?

Jefferson Bethke said plain as plain could be, his words brought me up short as God began to unravel the heart of what He is teaching me as I learn to lean in closer to Him.

“The truth is, sometimes the good plan He has for our lives is to make us look more like Him, which more often than not takes pain”

His plan for us boils down to being more like Him – in all things.  This is our purpose!  When we really strip the gospel down, when we really understand how God is asking us to live we find it difficult to embrace.   This is where the living for Jesus and with Jesus makes us scared and humble and hurts to core of our being. 

“Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had… He made himself nothing…” (Philippians 2)

He bent low and calls us all to do the same.  He calls us to the kind of bending low that finds us with scraped knees and gravel roughened palms – the kind of bending low that makes us more like Him.

“…He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form…” (Philippians 2)

Holy collapsed into flesh and succumbing to the limitations of humanity.

He bent low as they placed that beam, the weight of a world’s pining on His shoulders, and died the cruelest of deaths.

“And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminals death.” (Philippians 2)


This bending low it scares me.  It scares me because somewhere in all of my belief there is a thread of unbelief and the tension between the two is where my faith is often found. 

It’s here with my shoulders down, living the normal mundane and my face closer to the ground, I feel  my purpose thrumming through my being with every scared and courageous beat of my heart.

It is here closest to the ground, attending to the task of waiting,  that I can most easily catch a glimpse of the clouds and see how God is on the move. 



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