You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through. ~Lamentations 3:44
They were “socked in.” The cloud cover was so heavy that aircraft could not get through to drop supplies or attack the enemy. They were at the mercy of weather, they had neither the clothing nor the equipment to overcome. They were caught in the Battle of the Bulge. It was December, 1944.
Their commander, Lt. General George Patton decided to go far up the chain-of-command for help. He ordered one of his chaplains to write a prayer. The prayer began, “Almighty and most merciful Father, we beseech Thee…to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle…”
History shows that shortly after the prayer was offered, the skies cleared. It seems God heard that prayer and stepped in to help the Allies.
This has become part of American legend. But it makes us wonder what would have happened if the skies had not cleared? Would that be a sign that God was against us? Would it mean that God did not care who won the Battle of the Bulge? Would Patton have thought that his prayer had not gotten through?
That’s the conclusion Jeremiah reached at one time in his life. It may well be that we have decided the same at some time or other in our life—maybe even right now.
It happens when the situation seems serious—maybe desperate. We bombard heaven with calls for help. But nothing happens. Surely it cannot be that God is too busy to answer. It certainly cannot be that God doesn’t like us, and so ignores our calls. Jesus testifies to the opposite: “your Father knows what you need before you ask him“. (Matthew 6:8b)
So maybe it is like what Jeremiah thought. Maybe at times God is so hidden with mysterious, holy, cloud cover that no prayer can get through. But that’s foolish talk. And Jeremiah knows it. These are thoughts that grow out of desperation, and not from faith. A little earlier the prophet had written: “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:21,22).
His compassions never fail. God is not governed by our timetable, but he understands our anguish. He is not limited to the options that we can see. He operates in a field of unlimited visibility. He does not need to ask for help. He is the Help of the helpless.
We live our life in the fog of war. We see only a small piece of what is happening around us. We understand even less.
We forget that prayer offered in faith is like a guided missile: it flies straight to its locked-in target. It knows the way to faith’s home. It flies to the heart of God.
The cloud cover over Germany in December of ’44 did not stop angels from getting through to support the souls of desperate troops. Neither did it stop Patton’s prayer from getting through to Headquarters. Nor will any cloud cover, natural, mental, or supernatural, ever stop ours.
Almighty God and most merciful Father, we beseech Thee to restrain these immoderate fears and doubts with which we have had to contend. In our struggle against evil, grant us fair weather for battle. Amen.