Google describes shelf clouds as "a stunning feature of many spring and summertime thunderstorms that often pack more bark than bite. Other than for their incredible beauty, shelf clouds are usually newsworthy because they tend to freak people out." I have to agree that these clouds can be a bit ominous. After reading more about shelf clouds, I've come to realize that they are nothing more than a warning of a potential storm. Most often, the storm that these clouds are aligned with yield majority of their conditions before reaching the distance of the shelf cloud.

It wasn't until recently that God spoke to me about the "shelf clouds" in my walk. The times where He placed warnings of a potential storm so that He may protect me from unexpected devastation. It had been raining one afternoon and I was on a drive down the road from my house. I was intrigued by the color, size, and shape of a cloud and snapped a quick photo. Then, in the moments that followed, God began speaking...just as He always does.

In the image that I took, there were signs of experienced rain. The camera actually focused on them. If I am honest, during storms of life, I tend to get so focused on the current weather conditions that I cannot see other things that are happening in the midst of the storm. I think we all have this tendency. Storms that bring rain are inevitable but also beneficial. I believe that God wants us to prepare for the rain, not panic when it does arrive. Hosea 6:1 describes God as rain. "He comes as rain comes, as spring rain refreshing the ground." If we are prepared for the storm, we are prepared for a refreshing.

We will be refreshed if we are observant. As we walk and talk with God, closely, He will carefully place "shelf clouds" on the journey. These are the moments when we feel like things are stagnant...or maybe certain situations, relationships, and even conversations begin to feel ingenuine or disconnected. Psalm 37:23 says that "the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and He delights in them." God wants to show us the way. He takes pleasure in being our guide.

When we see these "shelf clouds" appear, it is our responsibility to prepare for the storm. I don't know about you but I prefer to have power (electricity) in my house at all times. My home contains precious items that depend on power. Without it, in a matter of time, what was overflowing is now meager. I believe through this image, God is saying, "Your calling, purpose, and testimony also depend on power." Not just any power. His power. We should be generating His power in every day that does not contain a storm. Inviting Him in our homes, relationships, at our jobs, in everything and everywhere. Providing places for Him to show up regularly....and when He does, responding with a whole-hearted "yes." We also generate His power be saying, "no." If we listen to Him close enough, we will know what deserves our time, energy, finances, eyes, ears, and hearts. Afterall, following Jesus is a matter of the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Until God returns, there will be sunshine, green grass, and blue skies after every Earthly storm. After most, a visible rainbow. As we know, they are reminders from God that He has not left us to face the storms alone. The same is true for Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical storms. They will end. We win in the end. If we can recognize "shelf clouds" on the horizon, then we can rest in peace by knowing that majority of the storm will diminish before it envelopes our life.