Oswalt Chambers notes that, in the Bible, clouds seem always to be associated with the times when God comes closest to man.
Maybe you, like me, have always thought of that as being due to the need to obscure the vision of God from man.
But Chambers draws another conclusion, which I think is both valid and powerful. Storms in our lives, symbolized by the clouds, are when we are most aware of God's presence, are when we most feel the need for God's presence, are when we are most receptive to God's presence. In fact, without the storms of our lives, we might very well not recognize the need for God in our lives.
The rain storms of this morning remind me of the necessity of storms for life. They're messy, noisy, sometimes very scary, can cause damage and pain, and they're always inconvenient. Yet they clean the air, replenish the moisture in the soil and rivers and lakes, and provide renewal and growth.
The storms in our lives are exactly the same. They too are messy, noisy, scary, cause damage and pain, and are inconvenient. Yet they serve to cleanse us, renew us, and grow us.
Thank you, God, for your presence during our storms.