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The Proverbial Dark Cloud


Last week my husband and I spent a few days in New Hampshire.  My husband had found a great Groupon deal at a newly remodeled hotel that sits right on Lake Winnipesaukee.

The room at the top left corner was ours complete with two sliders and balconies...

With these accompanying views!

This is the Mount Washington, a boat that provides daily tours of Lake Winnipesaukee from late Spring to mid-October.
 I went on this boat as a little girl!  I had no idea that it wintered in Center Harbor where we were staying,
let alone that I would have such a view of it!

Sadly, we only got to enjoy sitting out on these balconies for two mornings which I realize is pretty amazing considering it was almost November.

You see Tropical Storm Philippe wanted to "come join" our vacation.  I wasn't even aware or had even heard of Philippe until we were watching the local news the first night of our vacation, hours before it was due to hit.

The entire night tropical storm force winds buffeted our hotel room.  It was very loud and very concerning!  At about 5 a.m. we lost power.   A few hours later we would learn that Philippe was historic and deemed the worst storm to hit New Hampshire with over 450,000 people without power and many roads closed due to downed trees.

In addition to the storm, I woke up with either a mild case of food poisoning or what I believe was continued exacerbation of my stomach situation.  Quite disconcerting when you are away from home, let alone in a hotel without power.

It also became apparent that the hotel must use well-water because suddenly the faucet dried up and the toilet would not flush.

We hadn't even been there 24 hours and it looked our vacation could already be over.  The reports about when the power would return looked bleak at best.  We were almost to the point of having to have a conversation with the hotel staff about leaving.  I prayed and asked the Lord to have mercy on us and to restore power.  An hour later the power was back!!  Which was quite amazing considering many didn't have power restored until days later!

That afternoon, my husband and I took a ride on a beautiful country road and were blessed with the following scenes...

The power and swiftness of the flowing water was incredible!

The cloudy skies just enhanced the beauty of the landscape and the fall colors...

When we are in a season of life's cloudy skies, does the beauty of our Godly character become enhanced?

My husband can attest that there was very little beauty shining forth from my character during a majority of this vacation.  The continuing troublesome health issues between my stomach and dizziness made me feel like I was walking around with a dark cloud over my head as I succumbed to worry, resentment, complaining and dare I say, anger toward God.

I had prayed that the Lord would bless us with a restful vacation, but in the moment, I just saw the storm, the power outage, most everything closed due to off-season, rain for a majority of the days we were away, and not feeling well...

Yet, despite my grumbling state, I poured myself into spending time with the Lord...

Normally, on vacation, it can be hard to find quiet time to be with the Lord, for any length of time...  But this time, I spent at least an hour every day reading my devotional and journaling through the Word.

During our last night of vacation, these words from November 1st Streams in the Desert jumped off the page and grabbed hold of my heart...

When the cloud tarried... then the children of Israel... journeyed not (Numbers 9:19).

This was the supreme test of obedience. It was comparatively easy to strike tents, when the fleecy folds of the cloud were slowly gathering from off the Tabernacle, and it floated majestically before the host. Change is always delightful; and there was excitement and interest in the route, the scenery, and the locality of the next halting-place. But, ah, the tarrying.

Then, however uninviting and sultry the location, however trying to flesh and blood, 
however irksome to the impatient disposition, however perilously exposed to danger -- 
there was no option but to remain encamped.

The Psalmist says, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, 
and heard my cry." And what He did for the Old Testament saints He will do for 
believers throughout all ages. Still God often keeps us waiting. Face to face with threatening 
foes, in the midst of alarms, encircled by perils, beneath the impending rock. May we not go? Is it not time to strike our tents? Have we not suffered to the point of utter collapse? May we not exchange the glare and heat for green pastures and still waters?
Daily Devotional Commentary

I realized that it was not a dark cloud hovering over me, but the very presence of God, continuing His refining work within me - even while on vacation...

And then the Lord sent these spectacular scenes of the fog to help solidify what He had taught me about the cloud of God's presence which tarries...

  Christ's light is ever-present even behind life's clouds.  

  As the seagulls testified, clamoring and squawking to take advantage of
the multitude of bait fish drawn out by the fog, when the Lord's cloud tarries,
He will provide rich food from His Word,  through prayer, reading devotionals and faith-based blog posts; and through encouragement from brothers and sisters in the Lord...

There is no answer. The cloud tarries, and we must remain, though sure of manna, 
rock-water, shelter, and defense. God never keeps us at post without 
assuring us of His presence, and sending us daily supplies.
Daily Devotional Commentary - Streams in the Desert

God truly has been assuring me of His presence, sending me daily supplies.  It's been stunning how everything I hear, read or has been said to me, directly speaks to and encourages me while the Lord has me tarry in this season of refinement.

When the cloud begins to lift, the Lord's work within me will become majestically evident and will show forth the beauty of His refinement, and the reflection of HIS character.

In total transparency, these lessons have not been easy for me.  But the Lord is showing me that it is good to tarry with Him and to wait for His timing as He brings forth the beauty of His character from within me for His Glory.

Through this whole season, I can attest that He has been mercifully with me every step of the way as evidenced by His daily Graces through the areas I described.

Remember how I said that prior to this vacation, I prayed that the Lord would give me rest, well indeed between not feeling well, the storm, and the lack of things to do, this was probably the most restful vacation I have ever had!!

If anyone reading this is feeling like a dark cloud has been following them, I hope you have found encouragement here.  Our Heavenly Father redeems everything that touches your life.  You never have to go it alone.  He is right there with you...

He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, 
a joyous blessing instead of mourning, 
festive praise instead of despair. 
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks 
that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
Isaiah 61:3

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  1. Oh, dear friend! Oh, my, I am SO sorry for all you went through on your vacation. I have been praying for you...I was SO hoping the vacation would be just a long, unbroken time of peace and ABSENCE of storms! And, here you were, going through all of this...including an actual, physical storm! As I read, my heart sunk, because this is exactly the opposite of what we were praying for...but, then, as I continued on reading, I realized that, though, this was a nerve-wracked time, though it was filled with turbulence, though God did not choose to calm the storm, He absolutely calmed His child, and the sweet fruit and fragrance this time of pressing produced in you, this trying of your faith has been more precious than gold that perisheth! For you see, when God brings about this gold in you, and then you write about it, you don't realize how much it blesses the ones who read it. YES, dear friend, I have felt this "dark cloud"! Oh, dear Lord, help us, I have felt it. So THICK and, what I have deemed, oppressive! But, I, too, studied the cloud that would come down over the priests as they would go in to minister, and how that cloud represented the very presence of God! And, in one passage, it said the glory of the Lord was so heavy or thick or present, that the priests couldn't stand to minister! Can you imagine? I LOVE how you dug out the good from this cloud, dear friend. How, even though it was beyond unpleasant, you allowed it to didn't run from the situation, but you hung in there, and you allowed God's perfect plan to unfold. While it hurts me to know the vacation was not what we envisioned ahead of time, it appears that the results are far not only got abundant rest, which you so desperately needed, but you had a very "thickly overcast" time with God Himself, and, oh, the glory of such an encounter!!! I do trust He will heal these awful stomach issues...oh, my heart goes out to you, and I trust He will continue to reveal the sweet results of that cloudy time you spent with Him! Sending much love to you today!!!

    1. Dear Cheryl, Your thoughtful, heartfelt, insightful, precious comment here just means the world to me! Your words have blessed me beyond measure.

      I treasure our friendship and I covet your prayers.

      Sending you much love,

  2. I can't imagine a hurricane hitting and ruin my vacation, but you found time to take such beautiful photographs. I hope these pictures showcase your silver lining. They are so beautiful.

    1. Mary, Indeed they do.

      Thank you and thank you for stopping by. :-)

  3. We learn more in darkness, it seems, but what a view!!! (: Hope you're on the mend.

    1. Sue, Indeed!

      I think I'm getting there. Thanks for your thoughts, and thank you for stopping by. :-)

  4. What beautiful pictures! I love those clouds rising from the lake and pray that your clouds rise as well!

  5. Wow! Your photo's are gorgeous and that hotel on the Lake looks amazing. So sorry to hear of the storm and other 'interruptions' to your vacation, but happy to hear that in the end, you found it to be restful (even if not relaxing!)

    My Honey and I went to the Pacific for a quick wknd getaway last month and while it was not a hurricane, we also lost power and felt like maybe being so close to the water/incoming tide/storm was not as romantic as we thought it would be! It rained for days and we barely left our room... and like you, it turns out it was just what we needed - even though it was not what we had planned!

    1. Karrilee, Thank you.

      Wow! It sounds like you had a very similar experience!

      Thanks for sharing and for stopping by! :-)

  6. I love your photos, Karen! What beautiful memories to bring back with you. I pray they overtake the memories of the troubles, and that God's peace and joy would rest on you each time you think about how He brought you and your husband through the storm and how He, indeed, was with you in the storm.
    I love the photos of the white water and orange and yellow leaves; there seems to be a luminosity about them that causes a beautiful contrast. I also love the pictures of the sun over the fog! That's the first time I've ever seen that as a side view.
    And the Lord has given you some great lessons; thank you for sharing them with us.
    I hope you are on the mend physically and that you will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving when it gets here.

    1. Hi Ruth, Thank you! Indeed, they have overtaken the memories of the troubles and the peace I experienced there has been a constant reminder of God's provision and goodness.

      It truly was amazing to see!

      You are very welcome!

      Thank you, I appear to be. :-) Me too!

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Only he at times can see the plan and when it is revealed, how amazingly we are more appreciative. Praises that he restored the power as well as your vacation. Prayers for your health to get better and better.

    Peabea@Peabea Scribles

    1. Pea Bea, Indeed!

      Thank you for rejoicing with us in answered prayer during our vacation and for your continued prayers for my health.

      I appreciate it so very much!

  8. "I realized it was not a dark cloud hovering over me but the very presence of God, continuing His refining work in me." Oh, to see every storm cloud this way during the storm instead of after it! I'm writing this down to remember it. Thank you for sharing this vacation with me. The photos were beautiful, but the message filled my heart with hope and joy. Praying you are better soon. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Debbie, I'm glad you were encouraged. :-)

      You are very welcome. Thank you.

      Praise God!

      I appreciate your prayers.

      I hope you had a very blessed Thanksgiving.


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