Echoes From the Campfire

But to think and brood and grieve would be fatal.  Let him watch and listen.  Nothing in that wilderness was trivial.”
              –Zane Grey  (Stranger From the Tonto)

    “That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness.”
              –Zephaniah 1:15 (NKJV)
Dark clouds!  That’s all I’ve seen for several days now.  Only a time or two have the rays of the sun penetrated through those ominous gray and black.  Rains – they pour, flood, devastate the homes of people.  Whether it’s a “Harvey” or one of those dark swirling clouds, they can bring havoc and destruction.
    But wait, dark clouds are not just physical and of the natural world.  There are other types.  We know about the dark clouds of hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, and thunderstorms, but there are others, perhaps even more dangerous.
    There is the dark cloud of financial pressure and ruin.  Sometimes that cloud hovers over a person and they worry and stress over making payments to the bank or the mortgage on the house.  Land can be foreclosed on, personal property can be taken away because of the cloud of bankruptcy.
    Maybe you know someone who faces the dark cloud of depression.  Wherever they walk, that cloud just seems to hover over them.  There is little sunlight that can get into the soul.  Whatever the reason, they can’t seem to get out of the cloud of despondency.  Some of these people suffer from one of the initial words–PTSD.  They get out of the storm, and all of a sudden it comes back.
    Storms of life come upon people–all people, and there is no distinction of race.  There are the storms of abuse, drugs, alcohol, divorce, neglect.  These storms bring anguish to the people who face them directly, but the dark clouds continue on and hang over their friends and family.
    One cloud that will one day loom over us all is that cloud of Death.  However, even then, there is not time for wailing, for death has been defeated.  Death may be a cloud but it is like every other cloud; it is only a vapor.  It is now something, because of the resurrection of Jesus, that we only pass through to life everlasting.  

              “The dark clouds only last a while
               So patient be, and gently smile.
               Change can come so swiftly now,
               No need for sad and furrowed brow.
               Life may be not what you planned,
               Frustrations hard to understand,
               But Providence reigns up above
               So smile, and offer up your love
               To One who knows when crosses come,
               The best prayer is:  ‘Thy Will be done.'”
                       –Thomas Foy

    Many people actually enjoy the darkness they walk in.  They glory in their infirmity, not for the sake of Christ, but to show that they suffer, or maybe they think they are doing penance.  One of the real problems with those facing the dark clouds of life is that they often reject the One who can help them.  They turn inward, or they try to escape into a world of liquor and drugs.  Turn to Christ, bring Him into your heart; then the Light can shine through.  He will be with you through all types of storms.  So when the dark clouds begin to roll–look to Him.