Exodus 13:21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. (NIV)
The world constantly confuses me because everything keeps changing. People talk about TV shows, movies, and actors that I’ve never heard of; stores and restaurants that I used to go to are closed; folks that I once knew in Scotland, as well as the US, have moved away or gone upwards to glory. Nothing stays the same, so I feel nostalgic about the past, unsettled in the present, and fearful about the future.
I guess the ancient Hebrews felt the same when Moses uprooted them from Egypt and took them into the Wilderness. There was so much uncertainty and insecurity that they longed for the past even though they had suffered under Pharaoh. They couldn’t work out where they were going or what lay ahead of them. They experienced culture shock and wanted things to return to the way they once were. They may not have been happy in Egypt, but it was better than being fearful and traumatized in the desert. Just like the sands around them, their faith had dried up and they felt both helpless and hopeless.
And then God did something that showed them He was with them every step that they took. His presence was seen ahead of them as a pillar of smoke during the day and a pillar of fire at night. God was leading them every day, further away from their enemies and onward to the Promised Land. No matter what they felt or feared, God would not abandon them. All they had to do was follow His presence.
The world constantly confuses me because everything keeps changing, but I have learned to look for God and seek His presence each day. When I am fearful, He is faithful; when I feel lost, He always leads. No matter what is in front of me, the Lord is always ahead of me, pointing the way before me by showing me what path to follow. The world may change around me, but God never does, so that assures and comforts me, as it can also do for you.
Point to ponder
What changes have I experienced recently? How has God helped me to cope with them?
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for loving and leading us. Your presence is always with us and we are blessed by Your compassion and concern. Help us to look for You in all that we experience today. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. You can read the church website at www.erinpresbyterian.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest Pentecost drawings called ‘As a Dove.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Dove.