One of the most intriguing undergraduate courses I ever took in college was a course in Geography. I chose it as one of my humanity courses because I thought it would be about faraway places, and it was. It was about things that take place in the universe far above us. It was about what goes on in the heavens. I learned a lot about clouds. It was fascinating.
When I moved into this house, I chose the front bedroom as my office. It looks out on the street, and as I work, I have a clear view of the sky and the clouds drifting by. Of course, in my part of the world, more often than not the sky is an uninterrupted canvas of blue without a single cloud in sight.
This morning, as I watched the lacey white clouds skittering along, I heard in my mind, the voice of Judy Garland singing the number one song of the twentieth century, “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” As I sang along, I decided this song is either one of the saddest or the most hopeful songs ever written. Remember it?
“Somewhere over the rainbow way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue,
And the dreams that I dare to dream really will come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star.
And wake where the clouds are far behind me,
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
Away above the chimney tops.
That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, O why can’t I?”
Yip Harburg wrote this song in 1938, when the clouds of war were darkening the skies over Europe, and his fellow Jews were suffering suppression, oppression and violence at the hand of the Nazis. We really don’t know whether or not the threat of war in Europe influenced this composition, but I can hear the pathos and longing in this composers voice as he hopes for better days—days free from storm clouds—blue sky days.
Just coming away from Resurrection Sunday, and the hope it brings to my heart, I am gripped by these sad, hopeful words, and I recognize there are billions of people in this world who have no real hope. Still, they dream of a place of peace and rest and safety and joy. They wish upon a star or some iconic object, or pray to a god, who neither sees, or hears, or answers.
“Somewhere,” somewhere there’s a place where skies are blue. Somewhere there’s a place where my dreams will come true. Somewhere there’s a place of unclouded skies and untroubled days. Somewhere there’s a place of peace. Somewhere!
Often clouds are a portent of an encroaching storm. We no sooner dig ourselves out of the debris and clean up the mess until storm clouds gather again, and troubles? They just seem to multiply—there’s never an end.
Where do we find shelter from the storm and solace from the troubles? That “Somewhere” is such a nebulous expression.
The word nebulous means “in the form of a cloud.” It means “hazy, indistinct, indefinite, unclear, ill-defined, unformed, and uncertain.” Somewhere!
Where is that uncertain place? Where can it be found?
Please hear me. No matter how we hope for it, there is no such place, for shelter and peace are not found in a location, but in a person.
Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is our shelter from the storm, our refuge in time of trouble.
Mark 4:37 – 39 tells us, “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling…Then He arose (Jesus) and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
Surely, if Jesus can calm the elements, He can calm the storm in my life. Doesn’t mean the storm clouds won’t come. It does mean, however, that in the middle of the storm, we will hear His “Peace Be Still!” The troubles will not melt like lemon drops, but He will keep you during the troublous times, and cause you to triumph.
If a storm is brewing on your horizon, or perhaps you are already in the big middle of it, I encourage you to crawl into the strong arms of Jesus and let Him be your refuge.
Maybe you have just happened onto this blog not knowing what to expect, but you recognize yourself as one of those who has been looking and longing for that indefinite, unclear, and uncertain “Somewhere.” You need a place of peace and rest.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Jesus died and resurrected for you. He is your shelter in the time of storm. He is your peace.
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!