Friday, February 18, 2011

A Pillar of Cloud

by Suzie Johnson

How many times have you heard someone say they wished God were standing right in front of them so they could ask him what to do? Have you said it yourself? I know I have.

Would it really make a difference? I know we all want to shout a resounding, “YES, of course it would make a difference.”

But would it really?

Consider Adam and Eve for a moment. They walked with God in the garden. Side by side.

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
~~Genesis 3:8

Somehow, I missed this the first twenty or so times I read this. They walked with God in the garden. They spent time in his very physical presence. At least, we know for sure Adam did, because God brought the animals to him so he could name them. And Genesis 3:9 says God called out to the man, “Where are you?”

It seems as if God was used to interacting with them on a regular basis. Yet they still were faced with temptation and gave in.

Now consider the Israelites as they fled the Egyptians. They were constantly in the presence of God. He appeared to them as a pillar of cloud by day to guide them on their way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light. Exodus 13:22 says, “Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”

How reassuring that sounds. I just love the image it conjures up in my mind. A pillar of cloud. Can you imagine walking through your day with God going ahead of you in the pillar of cloud, leading the way? Standing watch over you at night in his pillar of flame?

I wonder sometimes…if Adam and Eve hadn’t of sinned, would God still be walking beside man in the physical sense? Would that make a difference in how we respond to everyday situations? It didn’t make a difference to the Israelites. They still sinned and disappointed the Lord.

When I recently read the scripture of God appearing in a pillar of cloud, I thought back to my childhood. I remember so many times where I would lay on a grassy hill on a sunny day, watching the fluffy white clouds roll by and imagine all kinds of animals in their shapes. I’m sure you did that, too.

I can remember looking for God in those clouds, trying to see him, trying to see his angels, never realizing at that time, that he was right here in front of me. Always with me. And later, living in me.

I pray that my eyes, that your eyes, that the eyes of those we love, will be open wide and able to see him walking with us.

Just for fun…do you ever look for shapes in the clouds? If so, what was the most memorable one you’ve seen? Or what was the most recent one you saw?

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