Blowing the Clouds Away!
Charles Naylor, 1920
I had been passing through a period of sore conflict. For several days I had had gloomy and distressing feelings. I had struggled with all my might against them. I had tried to draw near the Lord and to get special help from him. It was hard to pray, and it seemed that when I prayed, that no answer came. Discouragement pressed in upon me. I had no idea of giving up the fight — but I knew not what to do next. It seemed that my strength was exhausted by the conflict. As I lay there meditating, it seemed that all at once a quiet voice said to me, "Do not try to blow away the clouds with your feeble breath. If you will be content to wait — then the same wind that brought them, will carry them away again."
As the voice spoke I seemed to see myself in a little ravine where I had often been, with a great mass of thick clouds overhead moving slowly along. The lesson that God would eventually help me, illuminated my mind. I saw how foolish it would be to try to blow away those great clouds myself. All my blowing could not move them an inch. I might strain and struggle, and try until my strength was all gone — but the clouds would not pass away, nor would the sunshine come a moment sooner for all my efforts.
So those spiritual clouds that were hanging so low above me and wrapping me in their somber shadows could not be blown away by my feeble breath. I had nearly worn myself out by my efforts — but had gained nothing at all. I had worried myself, and it was all to no purpose. As I looked back at the beginning of that season of heaviness and darkness, I could not see anything that I had done to bring it; it had just settled down upon me without any apparent reason, just as the clouds in the heavens come over the face of the sky without relation to any act of yours or mine.
Brother, sister, have you not had such experiences in your Christian life? Have not darkness and gloom, heaviness and depression, come over your soul — and you could not tell why? You began to question yourself, thinking that surely there must be something wrong with you. You doubted and wondered — and you could not tell why you felt so. Perhaps for several days these feelings persisted. You resisted them. You prayed, you struggled. You searched yourself — but to no avail. The darkness still covered you — and the heaviness still pressed you down. Possibly Satan also came with powers of accusation against your soul. You blew with all your might at the clouds — but still they lingered, and your heart was sorely troubled. By and by the clouds passed away, the sunshine came — and your heart sang again. You knew not what carried the clouds away — nor what brought the sunshine; nevertheless there it was illuminating, warming, and refreshing you again.
There are many times in our lives when the clouds come through no fault of ours. Nothing that we can do will keep them from coming. No matter how close we live to God, they will sometimes come. We cannot hope that our sky will always be clear — but I hope you will get the lesson that God gave me that day, years ago. The same wind that brought that cloud over you, will carry it away again!
Do not waste your strength struggling against your feelings; be patient and wait. Do not accuse yourself of having done wrong or of being wrong. Do not take these gloomy feelings as evidence against yourself, any more than you would take the literal shadows of a cloudy day to prove you were not right with God.
If you have done wrong, God will show you just what the wrong has been, and he will also show you the way out. When the clouds come — then is the time to trust. If in your heart you mean to serve God, you know it, and he knows it. No matter how dark it may become, look up into his face and tell him that you mean to serve him no matter how things look, no matter how you feel. Our emotions are not governed by our wills — we cannot feel as we desire to feel; but we can be true when we will to be true, and we can wait and trust. We cannot control circumstances; we cannot help being affected by surrounding influences. These in a great measure rule our feelings. We can keep the citadel of our soul, and not allow sin to enter.
Remember this one thing, that all your struggling is only blowing at the clouds! It is easier to struggle, than to be quiet and trust — but it profits nothing. In a few days your gloomy feelings and heaviness and darkness will pass away without any effort on your part. It may be longer in passing, if you struggle against it. Just trust and wait; don't try to take the wind's duty; let it do its own work. Then, when the sunshine comes again, you will not be worn out — but will be fresh and vigorous for the tasks that lie before you.