The Storm-Cloud Behind

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
A Traveler on the great Atlantic is sure to meet with objects not seen elsewhere; it was so with one crossing that ocean who was quite unaccustomed to sea life, and whose concern, or indeed alarm, was awakened by beholding an expansive mass of angry looking cloud, gathering together, as he thought, all its forces ere it burst upon them. As he walked the deck of the vessel, watching rather nervously this strange appearance, he was relieved in no small measure by one of the sailors, to whom such sights were familiar, and who quieted all his fears by telling him that the cloud was neither over them, nor before them, but behind them. " Sir," said the sailor, " that cloud has burst behind us."
It is just so at this present time in the history of souls: many a one needs similar intelligence, to quiet the rising fears of the heart. There is a very popular and wide-spread delusion on this subject, which it is well should be exposed. It is said by some, and, thought by many, that sinners, being unable to meet the righteous claims of a Holy God, may take comfort when they are told that in mercy God is not now pressing His claim (as we would say). It is not, denied that God has a righteous claim, which if not answered by man, will bring judgment upon him; but what is stated and thought by many is, that God has allowed, in compassion, His full claim to stand aside, as it were, giving sinners credit for doing their best. Now, nothing could be more false, or destructive of all peace and comfort to the soul; the best it can do is to postpone the evil day, like a man deeply sunk in debt, whose creditors are kind and patient, but who yet passes many weary days and sleepless nights, because the unmet charge stares him in the face. Such, reader, is not the good news of God proclaimed to sinners in the gospel; it is neither forbearance on God's part as to His claim upon you, nor your doing your best, to be placed, as it were, to your account; but it is, oh, wondrous good news! that God has in grace supplied an answer to His own righteous claim, and bestows that answer upon every sinner who believes in Christ. God Himself is the blessed source and spring of it all; it was He who gave His Son out of His bosom; it was He who sent "his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him;" that blessed One came down to earth that He might do the will of God: "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." While He lived and walked here, He did the will of God; when He by the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, He did the will of God; He was the only one who knew the extent of man's sin and alienation from God, and He dies on the cross to put it away; and He is the only one who knew what was in the heart of God toward poor lost sinners, and He comes down to manifest it. How blessed, the storm-cloud has burst and is behind me! Do you ask me how I know?-Well, gladly do I answer you. He on whom it did burst is now seated in glory, appears there in righteousness transcendent, sheaving the blood of His atonement as my title to be there: but oh, more blessed even yet! how can I speak of it! He has set God free in righteousness to act according to the love of His heart. God now brings the poor returning prodigal to His house, His home, His joy; spreads His feast there, bids him welcome there; and there forever and forever in the circle of His favor, in the circle of a Father's love, is the rest and peace and joy of the wanderer brought back.