On a Canvas of Dark Clouds
By Anthony Casperson

Dark clouds, which threatened a heavy rain, matched my mood earlier this week. I had literally said, “I wish I could quit this job,” the day before. (The one by which I earn income, not this writing of blogs, or preaching sermons.) And I was driving in to do it all over again that day.

Needless to say, my depressive thoughts were overly active.

It was early morning—just as the sun would’ve been rising, if not for the clouds dominating the sky. Only tiny slivers of the sun’s rays fought through the darkness. And internally, I felt even less light.

Nearly at my destination, the car crested over a small hill. But I was met with a splash of magnificent glory. Radiating beauty painted on a canvas of dark clouds. Probably the most vibrant rainbow I’d seen somehow spread its color on the drably dark grays of the surrounding storm.

And in that moment, I was literally awestruck.

Not at the beauty of creation—though it most certainly was that. But rather, I was in awe of the truth of God’s glory that can be found even in the darkest storms of this life. In a place where we feel like there’s only ugliness and strife and misery, his light can pierce through to reveal his beauty. I could do nothing but worship him right there and then.

I wished I could take a picture—but while driving, that was impossible. And any other angle than the one at the crest of that hill would’ve been marred by the surrounding human-made structures. Plus, the brilliance of its color had faded by the time I’d parked, if a camera could’ve even caught its full glory.

Perhaps that’s all for the better. It was a momentary instance of God reminding me of his glory even in the midst of my personal darkness. Words that I can share, and hopefully reveal beauty to others in their own unique dark storms.

And it also allows me to join in with the words of Habakkuk, an Old Testament prophet who glorified God despite his own stormy background. In the first two chapters of the book bearing his name, Habakkuk complained to God about the difficulty of people seeming to get away abusing others. And he waited for the salvation that would come. And both times, God answered him with the truth of God’s faithfulness. Habakkuk 2:4 is even where the phrase “but the righteous will live by faith” originates.

And when Habakkuk gets to chapter 3, he writes a prayerful song that pictures God’s faithfulness. And he nears the end of the song with these words:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3:17-18).

Even if everything else fails, God will remain faithful. Dark storms may rage around us, but even then we can shout out in glory at the beauty of God’s amazing presence. No matter the difficulty around us, no matter how dark and troublesome, he can paint his beauty on that canvas.

And it will radiate his glory.