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 is confusing, because everything keeps changing. Last time I returned to visit my home town in Cornwall, I found shops and café’s that I used to go to, closed; people I used to know moved away or passed on; and favourite green spaces now concreted over to make room for housing. Nothing stays the same, so there are times when I feel nostalgic about the past, unsettled about the present and fearful about the future. For many of us, we are living through such a time.
I guess the ancient Hebrews must have 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 long under Pharaoh. They couldn’t work out where they were going or what lay ahead of them. They wanted things to return to the way they once were. Just like the sands around them, their faith had dried up, they felt both helpless and hopeless.
And God did something to show 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, towards the Promised Land. No matter how they felt or feared, God would not abandon them. I wonder if any of this rings true for you at the moment. Maybe you are feeling that the world is confusing because everything keeps changing. Nothing feels like it used to. Is your faith drying up? Do you think God has abandoned you? No! But He is teaching us through this period; training us to look for His presence each day. When we are fearful, He is faithful; when we are lost, He always leads. No matter what is in front of us, God is always ahead of us. The world may change around us, but God never does. Hold onto Him during this lockdown, and follow His lead – we may not know where we are going, but He certainly knows where He is taking us!
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for loving and leading us. Your presence is always with us and we are blessed by Your compassion and comfort. Help us to look for You in all we experience today. In Christ’s Name, we pray, Amen.