“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.”
Exodus 13:21, NIV
Several summers ago our family traveled to Nashville where the parents of my wife, Katherine, live. Nashville is roughly sixteen to eighteen hours from Miami. Midway through our trip the air conditioning in our van broke. We were unable to find anyone who could quickly repair it. Needless to say, this changed the physics of our trip. It was one of those sweltering summers in which even the breeze was hot!
Traveling home we were constantly aware of the sun’s power until we came to a generous stretch of highway in Florida that was covered by clouds. When you have been without air conditioning for awhile, the shade can be incredibly refreshing, and it was for us. As I drove I thought of the Israelites and their monumental journey from Egypt through the Red Sea. It dawned on me that I had always imagined that “pillar of cloud” as being some little “symbolic-presence-of-God.” It was for Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments!
But maybe it was more; in fact, I have come to believe that it was. I bet those hot days in the desert were brutal and torturous for babies, young children, elderly adults and women. And what about those inordinately cold desert evenings when there was no warmth for a scared nation of wandering immigrants?
Is it possible that God provided the cloud in the day to offer relief from the sun’s powerful heat and the fire to thwart the night’s debilitating cold? We may not know until we get to heaven, but that is exactly what I believe God was doing – because that is what God does. God bends nature to care for His people. He parts seas to rescue His children – and all for one reason. In Christ, He adores us. The Gospel promises this and history confirms it. How fresh!
QUESTION: What are some of the things God has done in your life that have brought you comfort? Have you thanked Him?