This morning there were some clouds in the eastern sky as sunrise came. They were not the kind that usually mean rain, but the ones that seem to skip across the sky with no intent or purpose other than to add interesting formations and color to an otherwise bleak and dull view.
As I studied them, I noticed how still everything was, though occasionally a soft whisper of a breeze graced the tops of a tree. I was captivated by it all--for the world around me was still asleep, oblivious to the majesty of this moment of time--after all, it was five o'clock in the morning!
But it would not last long. Trucks would soon rumble down the dusty road below my house; car doors would slam and roar off to work somewhere; unleashed dogs would have their morning roam; children would later excitedly join their friends and head for the creek. Phones would ring. Televisions would transfer me to the other side of the world. My moment of time would switch channels...
Yet, as always, I did not come away from that quiet time empty. There was always a reward awaiting me.
"Be still and know that I am God" crossed my mind. No wonder that David penned the words, "Early will I seek Thee," and that Abraham "Got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord." And here I had sat, thousands of years later, meditating as they had done; watching funny clouds and wondering just when one of them might suddenly appear with the Lord and tens of thousands of His saints as His Word has promised us.
I then recalled an old Eskimo lady I had met in Fairbanks years ago. She lived alone, yet still went out to chop her own firewood! And she told me, "Early each morning I go to my kitchen window to look outside at the sky for a cloud; to see if perhaps Jesus was returning that day." When I thought about that, I realized that she and I shared a faith that speaks of hope--hope that keeps a heart always anticipating, ever-breathlessly awaiting. And it didn't seem to matter that day after day went by without it happening, for it seemed that hope itself was something that mysteriously revived itself during those times when one" stood before the Lord." It penetrated and saturated every emptiness and ignited incredible joy. She lived until 112!
How important is hope! When we lose it, we become like Job:
"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.... my life is
wind; mine eye shall no more see good."
"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." (Pro 13:12)
I recalled the many times I have laid in pain, lonely and despondent--my faith weak as my limbs! How Satan fought my feeble
attempts to muster it! But then as I quit my own efforts and totally yielded myself to come as a weak kitten to that secret place of the Most High, it didn't matter that I had not yet seen my healing, or the answers to my prayers. What mattered was that hope was still alive. And hope soon became reality.
And so, this day I was rewarded. I could see that each one of my prayers were like the flickering flames of small lamps. For me to live and overcome the adversities of life meant I must never fail to meet Him in quiet times until every hope becomes renewed--hope for healing, hope for breakthroughs, hope for loved ones--hope for a thousand things, including His return. It truly IS a tree of life! And like the lamps in Moses' tabernacle, my only job is to faithfully tend those lamps and to replenish the oil of the thousand flickering ones I almost extinguished.
If I fail to do so, another day will become one of darkness, even after the sun arises.
MARY E. ADAMS