A deep sense of sadness hung heavy that Sunday as James tossed his bag into the car. The weekend had sped by so quickly, and before we knew it, it was time again to drive him back to the valley where he lived with his father and two brothers.
It was over an hour’s drive away from where they lived in a tiny hovel of a house, in a shady part of town. They had no phone, and I worried about them constantly. I cried to God every night. “Please God, please take care of my kids.”
I had recently moved to the foothills to a new job and a place to rent living in an attic. I saw my boys as often as my meager finances allowed, often scraping together all my spare change to make the trip. I hoped that I would eventually be able to take them back to live with me again, but until then, I did a lot of driving.
It was James turn that weekend to come up to my place. He is my youngest and was twelve years old at the time.
As we drove him back home that Sunday, we came to a place in the highway where it narrowed into a two-lane road dipping into a valley about five miles before the next town. All around were rolling hills of gold and high plateaus towering ahead of us in the distance.
Billowy, cumulus clouds drifted majestically across the sky, shifting and changing into interesting shapes, then slipping again into another. Never did they hold their forms for very long but were pushed continuously by the colliding wind currents, moving the clouds in multiple directions.
I can’t remember exactly what James and I were discussing at that moment, but it was with the same dreariness I always felt when having to return the boys to their home.
James broke the mood with a cheerful tone, “Look, Mom, God’s saying everything is going to be OK!” He held his right hand up in front of him in the shape of an OK sign, then pointed up to a cloud floating along separate from all the rest.
It was in the precise shape of a hand with five fingers, the thumb and forefinger meeting together making a circle, and the other three pointed up with each slightly bent. The lines and creases in the bend of each finger were distinct as the sun’s rays streamed through the spaces in between each one. Every line shaping the hand was clearly defined as if drawn by a fine pencil. The image was surrounded by a span of blue sky, and on the outer periphery were more clouds surrounding it at a distance, as if held back intentionally to leave the hand uninterrupted.
It sustained its shape with every detail and remained there for an unusually long period as if all the colliding winds had stopped, allowing us time to appreciate the imagery.
We gazed at it with awe for quite a while before the winds moved the clouds again in their different directions and the image of the hand slowly slipped behind another cloud.
It was as if God gave us a specific sign that day. James pointed my attention skyward, and we were both able to share a picture-perfect symbol of hope and encouragement together.
I appreciate the Lord’s whimsical way of showing His care for me, and also for my children. I feel so deeply blessed that I was able to share an extraordinary experience on that day with my son.
How beautiful it was, during that time of depression and separation, to see a love note from God. I look at clouds much differently now, thinking of the message, I believe, God had given us that day. It reminds me always to look up and focus on God’s promises and remember, because of His Son Jesus, everything will be OK.
"There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His excellency on the clouds.” Deuteronomy 33:26 NKJV