God Knows Where We Are Going
by Elaine Pierce
"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. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people." (Exodus 13:21-22)
God has been with his people from the beginning of this journey out of Egypt, leading them with a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud. As we come to the end of Exodus, we see God remains faithful, despite the many times that the people have sinned and turned their backs on him.
Do you sometimes think, "well, if I had a pillar of cloud greet me every morning, I'd never stray, I wish God was that clear in leading me"? Ah, but he is, if only we take the time to watch, to listen, and to follow him. We have his word; we have the fellowship of believers that we meet with every week; we have Bible study resources aplenty. And yet, we too, just like the ancient Israelites, want to do things our way.
As a child, I remember often after church my dad and mom would enjoy taking a drive 'in the country.' (When you grow up in a small town, the country is not far away.) My sister and brother and I would complain from the back seat, where are we going? Why don't you tell us? My dad would smile and say, "I'm going wherever the car wants to go." Oh, how that response annoyed me! Why are we wasting time aimlessly driving around? Why wasn't I in charge? Often, these "country drives" would end up at a restaurant, so all was not lost. And yet, I didn't like the car dictating what we were doing.
So, too, in our faith walk, we don't want God to be in charge. And we want him to lay out the plans he has for us, not in broad strokes, but in clear detail, year-by-year. He gave the Israelites the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire - day-by-day, "So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and the fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels." (Exodus 40:38)
He gives us what we need each day. He is driving the car, and he knows where we are going. Take his hand and follow him.
Lord, you are faithful to your promises when we are unfaithful. You offer us hope, faith and love, and all we have to do is follow you. Forgive us when we fail, and help us turn to you and accept the forgiveness that only you can give. Amen.