“For the LORD Himself will descend from heaven with a shout...Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air. And thus we shall always be with the LORD.” — 1Thessalonians 4:16-17.
Clouds—shifting, changing, casting shadows—purple, gray, dark; or billowy puffs, floating lazily across a brilliant blue atmosphere, shining with the sun’s reflecting rays; displays of pastel hues , unmatched by any artist’s palette, streak across the evening sky, quickly fading as the giant orb of light sinks into the western horizon, returning at dawn in the east to herald a brand new day.
All hint of a greater Presence of glory hidden in the deep recesses of their core.
Prayer may be likened to those clouds: waxing, waning, wandering, yet ever seeking their source of light.
Uncertainty, doubt and fear permeate the soul of a child who would know the One Who bids her to come up higher, to drink deeply from the river of Life. Somehow she is unable to shed the veil of unbelief, to come out of the shadows. But, as darkness fades, a peaceful settling envelopes this lonely, uncertain child, and she is irresistibly drawn into the arms of her heavenly Father. Fickle child that she is, however, a restlessness sets in, once again setting her on a meandering path through a dry and thirsty land. Reaching, stretching, yearning, running until she realizes from where her help comes and she returns to the secret place, her shelter from the heat, her strong tower of refuge. There, under His wings, she is no longer afraid of the terror of the night nor of the arrows that fly by day. Her thirst is quenched and “underneath are His everlasting arms.” — (Deuteronomy 33:27).
Dwelling in this shining City of Refuge, she is overwhelmed with the glory all around and the awesome privilege of being called to come before the throne of the Almighty, to enter into His gates of splendor. As a multitude of angels’ voices hail The Lamb Who has rescued her, praise is stirred within that trembling heart and begins to resonate with theirs as she cries holy, holy, holy is the LORD!
Dropping to her knees in the face of such awesome holiness, confession of her own uncleanness, unfaithfulness and unrighteousness is spilled out at the feet of the Lamb. And instead of condemnation, she is lifted up and cleansed by His Blood and the water from His side. Her stained and filthy garments are exchanged for a pure, white robe of His righteousness — she has been given beauty for ashes.
Drawing nearer to the Lover of her soul, a sense of gratitude rises up within the depths of her being, pouring out thanksgiving for the wonderful privilege of being allowed, not only to approach His throne of grace, but invited to come up into His lap and to abide forever under the shadow of His wings; and for His promises to provide, to protect, to deliver from all evil and to honor and satisfy with peace, everlasting life, salvation and the joy of being intimately acquainted with her Beloved.
Having found rest and the security of salvation, this redeemed child of the King of glory has been commissioned by Him to pray and intercede without ceasing for His saints, His Church, the lost, the lonely, the hurting; for the soldiers on the battlefield and those who wait and watch for them; for all those in authority over us and, yes, even for our enemies. As a beggar who has been fed, it is incumbent upon her to share this gift of life.
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” — Matthew 24:30.
Even so, come, LORD Jesus! — Revelation 22:20b.
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