I was a young kid when I first heard a song titled, “Back of the Clouds the Sun is Always Shining.” I do not recall hearing it sung in church since that time, but the words settled in my mind. Often, on a cloudy and rainy day, my heart is warmed by remembering that the sun is always there – I just cannot see it.
A right perspective is essential to the way we handle life. Reality is not always on the surface of a given situation. “Perception is reality” is a familiar statement, but much of the time, it is not true. What we see or hear does not necessarily communicate what is driving the attitude or action.I read a story about a man with children on a subway. The children were all over the place, out of control, and the man, presumably the dad, seemed unaware and detached. People were upset with the commotion and the lack of supervision. Finally, someone challenged the dad to take charge of the situation. With an apology, he responded, “We just left the hospital where my wife died; I guess I am a bit distracted.”
That story brings me up short as I admit that I find it easy to be critical without taking the time to find out what is driving someone to behave the way they do. My perspective changes when I know what is behind the surface of what I can see.
There is a proverb that says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the answer comes, it is a tree of life.” It is easy to feel hopeless when life does not go the way we think it should. The dark clouds of the present can temporarily wipe out our memory of the brightness of the sun in the past – and the assurance that we will see it again.
The Prophet Elijah enjoyed a miraculous demonstration of Creator God’s work that must have been as bright an experience as a human could imagine. But soon afterward, he allowed the threat of one person to cause him to lose perspective to the point of wanting to die. I am sure that he was exhausted, which led to depression. God gave him time, provided nourishment, safety and rest, and then put him back to work. Elijah’s perspective returned and he remembered that behind the clouds of doubt, the sunshine of God was always there.
There is a brightness far greater than the sun, and it never goes away. This is the Son – Jesus. The Bible says, “If the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.” This freedom is far greater than lost perspective from doubt and weariness. It is freedom from sin and bondage – a freedom that assures us of being with Creator God forever.
Clouds that make for a gray day will move away eventually. We will enjoy the brightness of the sun again. Even clouds of death are bearable when we have confidence that because of Jesus, the parting is temporary. The most hopeless day takes on a new perspective when we remember, “Back of the clouds, the SON is always present. Jesus is the ever-shining Gift of Christmas. I am grateful.
-Pastor Bill Ehmann