I can see the rays of bright sunshine streaming around the edges, so much so that some of the edges even seem to be glowing with brightness.
Then I noticed that this isn't just one cloud, but it appears to be made up of layers. Each layer a different shade.
As I thought - this is beautiful, I realised that the cloud shows me the rays of glorious sunshine that I wouldn't be able to see otherwise. It helps me appreciate the individual rays of the sun. They are all the sun's light, but different aspects to it. I don't think we can appreciate the full brightness and beauty of the sun unless it is hidden from us sometimes. It's only then that we can focus on the individual aspects that we see.
The cloud is not there forever, it will move on, but the sun will continue to shine no matter what.
This then correlated in my mind to us and God.
There are times in our lives when we will be hidden behind a cloud. As christians, we are told that God's light is within us, we have, 'the light of life' (John 8:12). This is what is seen by those around us in times of darkness and trouble.
There may be a cloud of; debt, illness, work problems, relational issues, or a whole host of other 'layers' that prevent us fully shining out. But people can still see the rays of light. The beams of hope that emanate from your life. It may be your perseverance, your peace, contentment or other characteristics that shine out to others around you.
Even though you see that you are behind a cloud, you can see these layers of darkness swarming around you, you are still projecting light. In fact some of your light seems brighter BECAUSE of the surrounding darkness. There are aspects of your character that are appreciated more fully by those around you because of the circumstances you are in.
The darkness can seem overwhelming, like your trying to trudge through treacle. But it cannot overcome. The light is still visible, and in fact it is more identifiable because to see the complete light of the sun - who can look directly at it? It's blinding, it's too bright.
Sometimes we need to go through periods of darkness so that others can see the beauty of the light within us.
There are rays of hope emanating from these difficult circumstances that we cannot see when we are in them, but others around us can see. The darkness will pass, the light will continue to shine. The darkness can be deep, threatening and scary, but it will not win!
'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it'!