When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple. 1 Kings 8:10-11
When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. Exodus 24:15-18
Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. Exodus 33:7-11
I used to call it my “little black cloud days”. It was those days when I just couldn’t shake it, the feeling of sadness, loneliness, sometimes despair. When it was an effort to keeping moving forward and I longed to just get home and crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep until it went away. This would happen often after James died but then seemed to dissipate gradually. Sometimes my “little black cloud” would linger all day, other times it would be just for a time, disappear and reappear later that day. Not sure what caused it to come, linger, dissipate or reappear but after months and years of this I finally inquired of the Lord. “Lord, is this just what I will deal with? The grief? For how long? Will it ever totally go away?” And as the Lord often does, He spoke gently to my heart, “Daughter, my precious one, make friends with the “little black cloud” because in it you will find me”. Therefore, I did. I welcomed that cloud and sensed His presence. Did it take away the feelings of loneliness, or sadness? No. But it gave me hope, purpose and comfort in those feelings. Reading the final days of Solomon building the temple for God in 1 Kings 8, I see I am not the only one that experienced the presence of God in a cloud. As the priests consecrated the Holy Place of the temple, God’s glory appeared in the cloud. Similar happened to Moses on Mount Sinai as he met with the Lord and when he pitched the tent of meeting.
In writing this, 10 years after James’ death I can’t remember the last time I experienced my “little black cloud”. Is it because I have passed the season of mourning and grief? Or maybe it is because instead of experiencing the feelings of loneliness and sadness, God has replaced them with joy and gladness as I embraced His glory in that cloud.
Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness. Isaiah 35:10