“On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.” Numbers 9:15-17; ESV
Oh, what I would give to have a Cloud and a Pillar of fire guide me. I mean, come on! Looking for a new job? The fire will lead you to the right company. Wondering if you should sell your house and move? The cloud will let you know that it’s not time yet. Who wouldn’t want that kind of visible and direct guidance. I know I would! And yet…I don’t get it…or at least I haven’t been able to see the cloud or fire.
Maybe it’s my vision or maybe God chooses to reveal Himself differently to me. When I was a child I often thought that if I had been an Israelite, I would not have wandered away from God like they did so many times. They had so many visible reminders of God’s presence and yet, they kept turning away. As I have grown, however, I have come to realize that God has done amazing things in my life…that I have forgotten. I have seen answered prayers and received guidance and then become angry when it wasn’t provided again exactly when I wanted it and how I wanted it.
Following and Loving God isn’t a one time and done thing…It is a daily practice, a minute by minute trusting in His presence. For me it has been trusting that He will fulfill His promises even when it feels impossible.
“And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.” Acts 16:40
Paul must have desired similar direct communication with God…especially as he sat in prison again and again. He never seemed to loose heart. At the same time, he never stopped communicating with God…crying out to Him…asking for help…pleading for mercy. Paul was honest and open and vulnerable with the Lord, which allowed him to follow and to trust and to walk boldly.
Heavenly father, may I, like Paul, be persistent in connecting with you and hearing from You. Give me eyes to see your guidance. Give me ears to hear your voice. Give me wisdom to know when you are leading and give me courage to follow. Amen.
Mandy Baldwin (mkaybaldwin)