The five Clouds
(A true story which happened in
Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen me,
Thomas, that is why you believe. Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe!
It all began on a quite normal Monday morning with a news report on the radio: "During excavations in Central Africa, researchers made a sensational human bone discovery. The age of the well-preserved skeleton is estimated to be around 30,000 years after investigations using the so-called C-14 method, a quite reliable method. It is thus the oldest archological evidence of human existence to date."
I had interrupted my domestic work and stared at the radio in astonishment. The newscaster was already on the next message, but I stopped listening. As if an avalanche had started, thoughts began to race through my head "down the valley".
A 30,000-year-old human bone find? How is that possible? ... According to the Bible, Adam and Eve lived about 6,500 years ago. ... But the C-14 method is reliable! ... Did I sit on an illusion with my faith... in a sect, as my parents claimed?
I tried to stop my stream of thoughts: Get a hold of yourself. Try to think in peace! But the avalanche rolled on for a while. It wasn't until I dropped into my favourite chair that she stopped.
It was perfectly clear to me that something profound had just happened. And I couldn't just go back to business as usual. If the news was true, and there was no doubt in my mind, I had a serious problem.
After a little while I got up from my chair again and began to walk up and down in the room. I tried to concentrate on the essentials: Okay, what's the real problem?
Well, that was obvious: In the church it is taught that the whole Bible is God's Word and therefore does not contain any untruths. After that, mankind has existed for about 6500 years! But how is that compatible with a 30,000-year-old human bone finding?
The "avalanche of thoughts" began to move again. Panic-like I thought: I have to get out of the apartment! I decided to take my jacket off and walked towards the front door. Pastor Maurice from Ghana came to mind. He had been coming regularly to the House of Jesus for some time and we had made some friends. Yeah, I thought I'd go find him now and tell him the whole thing. Maybe he knows some advice
Arrived at the bottom of the road I was wondering if I should take the bus. But then I decided to go for a little walk. A little fresh air might do me some good.
When I came through a small forest near my apartment, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I could pray. After all, the Bible said, "Call me in distress and I will save you!" But immediately the doubt came up: You want to pray to a god who might not even exist?
I put the thought aside and
prayed: "You know what happened! I suddenly have great doubts about faith. Please help me!" That's absurd! the doubt mouthed again. I just ignored him and moved on.
Coming from the small forest I came on a path that led me past fields and meadows. I had walked it several times before, but this morning I had no view of this idyllic landscape. And even the bright blue sky with a few clouds of sheep could not cheer me up. Slowly and tiredly I moved towards the forest depicting itself on the horizon. There I sit down on the old bench, I thought.
I was perhaps still about fifty meters away from the edge of the forest, when I had to realize to my regret that the wooden bench set up there was occupied. An older couple sat silently on it and enjoyed the sunny weather. Crap!, I thought, because actually I wanted to take a little break here. Why do they have to sit there now of all times?
When I was perhaps still ten meters away from the bank and wanted to go into the forest, the two suddenly got up abruptly. Seconds later, they disappeared into the forest.
I was puzzled and stopped. As if they had received an inner command, I thought briefly. Then I dropped powerlessly on the bench and stretched all four of me. Just a little breather, I thought. Then it goes on!
So I sat motionlessly on the old, wooden bench for a
few minutes and almost painfully felt a deep, inner emptiness. Had everything in the past few months really been an illusion? Was I kidding myself?
I had been looking at the landscape in front of me for a long time without much interest. Occasionally, the view also wandered skyward. Actually a really nice day, at least in weather conditions, I thought.
My gaze now rested slightly sleepy on a small collection of small, white clouds in the otherwise almost radiant blue sky. They almost look like letters, I thought. Look away again, then again. Clouds like letters, I thought almost a bit amused. And became curious to take a closer look.
And suddenly it fell like scales from my eyes! Unbelieving, I stared at the sky. That's not possible! I thought upset. But there was no doubt! In the sky five small clouds were lined up next to each other like letters in a loose form. A word was written so clearly visible in the sky. It was the name:
J e s u s
I had got up from the wooden bench and looked at the
clouds in the sky in disbelief. Can it really be? I put my glasses down and looked, I put them back on and looked. There was no doubt. Up there in the sky the word J e s u s was clearly
I remembered a Bible verse from Acts: In no name (other than the name of Jesus) under heaven is salvation...
Yes, now and then this unique name stood clearly legibly in the sky. I involuntarily asked myself: Will others now also see this? No, I thought, probably not!
Apart from the fact that I was completely alone on the wide corridor, a different angle would probably change the result. And if not, no one would probably have the idea of looking at clouds in the sky. That sign was all to me!
And now, I suddenly thought, how am I supposed to deal with it now? Again I remembered a Bible verse. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, he said, "Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.
And so I knelt down and thanked God, looking at the five clouds, for this great revelation. Then I got up, turned around quickly and walked into the forest without looking back again.
A little later I sat across from Pastor Maurice from
Ghana and told him the whole story from the news to my "cloud experience". He listened to me without a wince, quietly. Then he got up, fetched a Bible, and said: Yes, this was a revelation of
God. There are some places in the Bible where God reveals Himself in the clouds. For example, in the second book of Moses..."
He read me some other examples from his Bible that spoke of God and the clouds. They were actually only very remotely related to my experience, but showed that God occasionally revealed Himself to people in a very direct way. At least if you believed the Bible's tales!
"Thank you, Maurice!" I said when I said goodbye. Although I no longer needed confirmation from his mouth - for my cloud experience spoke for itself, so to speak - his words had nevertheless done well.
I didn't care that 30,000-year-old human bones had been found: So what?! I thought. What does that mean now? God answered my prayer and gave me a great sign. That alone counts!
With good cheer I started my way home again. The doubt was finally vanquished. My faith had become certain again! Thank God!