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Through the Lens: Arizona

This week’s reflection on the photos of Charles F. Stanley

John VandenOever November 26, 2022

Photography by Charles F. Stanley

As I study this photograph from the Arizona desert, I see mystery. The dark, craggy mountain, the stark and far-off moon, the textured glow of clouds like the dust beneath God’s feet. At once it reminds me of the power, majesty, and security of our Creator. But what I’m really drawn to here are the clouds.

In Scripture, clouds represent the Lord’s presence. Consider Exodus 13:21-22, where the pillar of cloud leading the way through the wilderness was a constant sign of His nearness and guidance. Several chapters later, God communicated His holy power through a thick cloud as the people surrounded the mountain where the law—a depiction of His holiness—would be delivered. Centuries after that, God voiced His endorsement of Jesus from within a cloud while Peter, James, and John listened in (Matt. 17:1-5). And then, incredibly, Jesus departed on a cloud in the Acts as His followers watched (Acts 1:9).
Today we live with the promise that Christ will return on the clouds, as we rise upon them to greet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-17). Just as this rich hue of clouds hums with still beauty under the glow of the moon, so are our hearts held firm in God’s presence and the promise of eternal life with Him. 

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