As we are starting to move into winter here in Bolivia, I’m realizing how much harder the mornings are going to be. It was easy to get up at six am when the sun came streaming through my window. But it seems like every day the past month, I’ve been waking up in a cloud. Street lights are still on, clouds cover the sun and the surrounding mountains, and even the constant traffic slows down in the early morning hours. These clouds sometimes don’t burn off until mid-morning. Sometimes they last the entire day. I think we went three or four straight days a few weeks ago without seeing the sun.
After one such particularly long stretch of cloudiness and rain, the sun finally broke through one evening on my way home from work. In the bumpy minibus, we rounded a sharp curve and all of the sudden a spectacular view broke through of snowcapped Illimani, La Paz’s famous mountain that sits just behind the city at 21,000 feet (see below picture – wow). I fumbled for my camera, like it was the first time I had ever seen the mountains. After weeks of being covered by clouds, Illimani was in clear sight again and as beautiful as ever.
As I sat in awe of the mountains and the city, I felt a wave of peace flood over me. Illimani had been hidden, had been covered by clouds, had been silent for weeks… but it had never ceased being. It was always there, just beyond the city limits, watching the city during the day and night, looming ever more magnificent. Our sight had been limited due to circumstances, but that did not deny the reality of the mountain or its enormity. And once it revealed itself again, it seemed even bigger and more glorious than ever. I was in awe all over again.
The rest of the bus ride home, I was hit with the realization that this is how the Lord has been to me this past half of a year in Bolivia. At times, I feel like He is hidden and distant from me. I can’t see Him, I can’t feel Him, especially in the hard times when clouds are fogging my vision. Sickness, worry about the future, stress, fear all transform into clouds, like the ones I wake up to, making me doubt His grandeur, His supremacy, His presence. But then, in simple moments, like a bus ride home from work, He breaks through those clouds and reveals Himself to be even bigger, even more magnificent than I had remembered. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He had been there all along, watching me through the day and night. I am in awe all over again.
All along, it has been my sight that is limited, not His presence.