I preordered this book when I got the email from Canon Press announcing a publishing date. At the time, I was fed-up with privileged “God is good” gushiness. You know, the kind involving beautiful coffees, new cars, house remodels, dreamy vacations, and perfect children. (#blessed.) I understand that many of these #blessings are sincerely expressed from #grateful hearts. The trouble comes when we measure God’s goodness by the blessings. In my own desert place where things were not so well watered, I needed more than a great latte (although that helps) to reassure me that God is good.
The Clouds Ye So Much Dread, highlights God’s faithful presence through the crises of life, when we are not doing well or feeling especially blessed. Yes, life doles out some really nasty stuff, and no, our prayers are not always answered the way we wish. Where can a person be safe and secure? Where can we fly in the helplessness and lack of control over the details in our lives?
There’s a chapter on fears and one on fear mongering – the unknown, our inadequacies, the obvious perils, as well as the things that come winging out of nowhere. There are a lot of references to the author’s son who battled childhood leukemia. She shares how she started seeing the clouds and the landscapes while she was driving her son to his oncology appointments, stopping to photograph and notice details during this stressful time in her life. “If there’s one thing that a period of testing can do for us, it’s to make us feel the weight of glory in all the things we once brushed off so lightly.”
Mrs. Greiser also addresses the fact that we must face our mortality and humanity- that most of life will not be amazing and “instagrammable”, that becoming entangled in food guilt, lifestyle snobbery, hoarding stuff, etc… really, these are not worries to waste inordinate amounts of energy on.
When we immerse ourselves in the fact of the Father’s faithfulness, when we remember His promises to the sparrows and the lilies, when we refuse to give in to the insidious lies that He has forgotten because “this” happened to me… that is when we start to see the mercies that come out of those clouds we dreaded so much.
Here are some quotes to whet your appetite:
“When God calls us to duties as sacrifices, or trials like cancer, that turn our paths away from the goals we had set for ourselves, it’s easy to fear that our gifts are simply being wasted. When we follow God’s call and not our own, have we truly wasted our potential- throwing it out like trash? Or have we laid it down and planted it where our heavenly Father will raise and transform it into glorious resurrection fruit?”
“Why is it so easy to forget how great God’s kindness is to His children? For us who know Him, it’s almost always a failure of memory that has led to a failure of nerve.”
And here’s the grand old hymn by William Cowper: