Today the church celebrates Ascension Day. Have you ever actually celebrated this day? Many Christians around the world do. Read Acts 1:7-11 to look back at when Jesus ascended into Heaven. After he told his disciples that He was sending the Holy Spirit, he was taken up and a cloud hid him from their sight.
A cloud hid him from their sight.
Eight years ago our daughter, Bethany died in a car accident on Ascension Day. At the time, I didn’t even realize that May 9th was Ascension Day that year but our family certainly was surrounded by clouds that could have eclipsed our sight of Jesus. The clouds of sorrow, fear, regret, anger, what if, and why appeared out of nowhere brought on by the winds of death.
An unknown author wrote a contemplative book in the 14th century titled, The Cloud of Unknowing. Its theme is that God cannot be found through knowledge or understanding. He can only be found through love. The author suggests that we should forget what we think we know about God and press into His presence, without all of our preconceived ideas about Him.
Bethany’s death convinced me that all my years as a Christian, all the degrees that I hold and all of my spiritual insight could not prepare me for losing her. When I sat in the grass, at the accident sight, waiting for them to pull her from the car, no sermon, theology class or spiritual experience came to mind. Clouds rolled in and tried to confuse me. Then without reason, a childhood song seemed to rise within me.
Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.
The clouds that tried to separate me from God couldn’t eclipse His love for me, our family, Bethany’s husband, or their children. The answers to why, and what if, didn’t seem to matter in the light of God’s love. I’m guessing the disciples felt much like this. Jesus died and they lost hope. He came back and then left again. This time, a cloud hid him from them. They didn’t know then that ten days later, he would send his Spirit to live in them. No cloud would ever separate them again.
So today, let’s celebrate Ascension Day. Go outside. Take your family or go alone. Look at the clouds. Forget everything you think you know about God and wait in His presence. He will come. Just maybe He will give you a song deep down in your soul.