On Monday I was driving along when I saw this really unusual cloud formation. I stopped, took my phone out, and snapped a picture.
At the time I was sure I saw an angel in the clouds. Then I thought perhaps I saw two. Then when I got home and looked at the picture I could see a giant bird. More of a pigeon that the dove of the Holy Spirit, but still.
Isn’t it extraordinary the way the human mind looks for order in the midst of chaos, meaning in the flow of life. Of course I believe that there is order in the midst of chaos, and meaning in the flow of life, but I’m the first to admit that it’s not always what I think it is.
Obviously if I drink sugar laden drinks all day I’m going to suffer tooth decay (and an expanding waistline). However, if I ate fruit all day my teeth would suffer too. And if I have a genetic predisposition to tooth decay I might take all the care in the world, avoid all sugars, and still have more cavities than a swiss cheese.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 9 vrs 11 we read: I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.
That sounds a bit fatalistic to me. The book of Proverbs claims the opposite, that life is cause and effect. A hard worker has plenty of food,but a person who chases fantasies has no sense (Proverbs 12:14), and Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward (Proverbs 14:14).
So, which is it? I believe it’s both, and the paradox can drive you mad trying to work it out. The reality is that none of us are in a place where we can see all cause and effect, or know when chaos has met order. However, we are able to see a bird in the clouds, know that it’s simply clouds, and still feel free to look for a sign. We are also able to see that sometimes everything makes sense – and sometimes it doesn’t.
Oh to be like little children, to see all kinds of things in the clouds just for fun, and simply enjoy the journey!