Melanie and I are just returning from a vacation in her home town of Durango, Colorado. We stayed at the mountain ski-resort of Purgatory. However, this is July so our outdoor time was spent hiking in trails in the area instead of hitting the ski-slopes. Staying at the resort allowed me the opportunity to get up on the mountainside early in the morning before the sunrise. This afforded me some amazing experiences and I dare say, the highlights of my trip.
My first sunrise on this mountain was breathtaking. I looked up the time of the sunrise in the area, which is apparently around six o’clock Mountain Standard Time. However, I did not consider the fact that directly East of where we were staying lies two huge mountain ranges. So the sun didn’t actually clear the mountain range until about seven or a little before. This was actually good because it gave me time to spend in prayer and devotion prior to the sunrise. By the time the sun came up my heart was well prepared by spending time with God. I was actually mid-prayer when the sun hit my face and felt immediately like God was replying. Like a hand lovingly touching my face to let me know I was being heard.
Each of the following mornings filled my heart with praise for my Father and His son Jesus. But I want to talk about one that was a little different. After exploring this mountainside for a few days, I finally found the perfect spot for my quiet time. From this spot I had a clear view of the Twilight Peaks, the mountain range the sun climbed over every morning. The tree line below obscured the view of the resort and the chair-lifts. I scoped this spot out and determined it would be my go-to place the next morning. The following morning was cold and wet but I made my way to my coveted mountain observation point.
But then rain clouds moved in. As I began reading scripture, I kept noticing the Twilight Peaks were shrouded in clouds and rain. Before long, I began to feel the cool raindrops falling all around me as I read from the book of Psalms. It was at this point, I noticed the time… It was past seven o’clock, which meant the sunrise had already happened as the rain clouds above Twilight Peak stole my view of it. I was disheartened. Having hiked about a mile to this amazing spot and having waited for about an hour. I decided just to keep reading and praying.
I have been reading The Psalms in a translation called The Passion Translation, which is an amazing functional equivalent translation meant to convey the passion found in the original language. The translator has even labeled the psalms with names to express the heart of the psalm. So as I continued to read, I came upon Psalm 5 which was labeled: The Song of the Clouded Dawn. In this psalm, King David is expressing frustration because he feels his prayers might be going unheard. His troubles are obscuring his view of God. But he expresses how he uses the sunrise to lay it all down at the throne and to wait on God’s fire to ignite his faith. The first few verses read:
I connected to King David in this moment and realized he and I had been on the same page. Every morning, I have been coming to this mountain to lay out pieces of my life on the altar. Every morning I have been waiting on His fire to fall upon my heart… and it had multiple times. But the clouded dawn this morning blessed me just as much because I saw the message in it…
Sometimes His fire comes… but you can’t see it. However, it is there. Giving life to the Earth and to all those who turn aside to hide in Him. I turned around and looked behind me up the mountain and saw the most beautiful green pastures lit by the clearest blue sky you can imagine. The sun had risen and was again bringing beauty and life to the Earth. Just because I didn’t have a clear view of it, meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. I thought about how the Son has also risen and was bringing even more beauty and more life to the Earth. Some days it’s hard to remember that. Some days His light isn’t hitting you right in the face… but it is there bringing life and bringing it abundantly. We just have to look around us to see what He is doing.
I love the way this psalm ends. This Song of the Clouded Dawn ends with hope:
But let them all be glad, Those who turn aside to hide themselves in you. May they keep shouting for joy forever! Overshadow them in your presence as they sing and rejoice, then every lover of your name will burst forth with endless joy. Lord, how wonderfully you bless the righteous. Your favor wraps around each one and covers them under your canopy of kindness and joy.
– Psalms 5:11-12 (The Passion Translation)
So when the clouds obscure the light of the sun (Son)… turn… look around you and see His beauty around you. Hide yourself in Him. I will shout for joy! Because the clouds in my life are utterly and completely overshadowed by His presence when I sing, raise my hands to Him, and shout his name from the mountainside. And because I am a lover of His name, I will burst forth with joy endlessly… from this life to the next. From this beautiful mountainside to the even more beautiful foot of His throne!