When the Clouds Lift
What if feels like to come alive to the wonder, beauty, and transforming power of God's love in Jesus.
A Cross-Country Trip
Last week, my family drove from Georgia to Estes Park, Colorado, arriving just after dark. If it were not early June, the snowfall may have been expected. But by morning, the ground was covered by a thin white blanket, which melted by mid-day as the temperature rose into the 40s.
We knew mountains surrounded our camp. Not ordinary mountains, but a majestic line of seventy-seven peaks in the Rocky Mountain National Park, each rising over 12,000 feet to form one of the most stunningly beautiful sections of the continental divide.
Those mountains were out there. But we couldn’t see them because, after the snowfall, clouds still hung low.
Eventually, as the day wore on and the clouds thinned, with pine dotted slopes emerging in the distance. Rock outcroppings became visible. Then, an entire ridge line.
But that was it. Clouds remained, concealing the larger mountains at higher elevations.
Expectation to Disappointment
Above and beyond, we knew there was more to see and savor. Soon, the expectation of glory gave way to disappointment. Was our trip going to be cloud-covered all week?
Our question received an answer the next morning.
Under bright blue skies, we were greeted in every direction with the full panorama of Rocky Mountain majesty—strong, immense, and immoveable, snow-capped peaks of stone.
I didn’t want to leave but began thinking, “How can we move here? I want to live with this view every day!”
I think that experience is what it feels like to come alive to the wonder, beauty, and transforming power of God's grace in Jesus, where the majesty of his strong, immense, and immoveable love is revealed.
In the Bible, we read a lot about the love of God. But our experience may be like my arrival in Colorado. We knew the mountains were supposed to be there but, they were hidden by the clouds.
When the Clouds Remain
Sometimes, the love of God feels cloud covered and we begin to wonder if we'll ever know in the depth of our hearts and souls what it feels like to be fully forgiven, perfectly accepted as righteous, and genuinely loved by God as his treasured adopted sons and daughters.
We may wonder, “Does the gospel over-promise and under-deliver?”
When the clouds of that question rise in my heart, I need to put on my gospel glasses. This is the only way to see the peaks of God’s mercy when guilt over remaining sin and the pain of worldly circumstances hinder our view.
Making the apostle Paul's testimony your own might help. In Galatians 2:20, he writes,
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (NIV)
Sometimes we have to look the clouds in the eye and say it out loud, "Jesus loves me. There is no greater proof than the cross, where he gave himself to bear the penalty my sins deserved.“
Gazing with Eyes of Faith
Then, as we consciously gaze upon the cross with eyes of faith, we begin to sense the wonder and beauty of Jesus’ sacrificial love—just like I felt wonder and beauty when gazing upon the majestic snow-covered peaks of the Colorado Rockies.
Of course, the gospel doesn't reveal snow-covered peaks but a blood-stained cross. It is that blood that cries out through the clouds, “Though you may be more sinful than you can bear to admit, you are more loved in Jesus than you can dream!”
No, the gospel does not over-promise and under-deliver. In fact, when we let the implications of the cross soak in, we find the promises of grace over-deliver.
In Christ Jesus, you are forgiven. You are accepted. You are loved, now and forever, safe and secure through the one-time, finished sacrifice of the cross that now looms over your life like the Rockies over our camp in Colorado.