So the Israelites were finally free and the breathe of a new start was in the air. They saw it as a dream that died every time Pharaoh had said no to this Lord who called himself “I am”. “Who even has such a name?” You would ask if you were in their era. Every plague that came in Egypt disapproved the gods of the masters that these people had come to fear so much for those four centuries.
Then He takes them out of Egypt and takes them to the wilderness. A place where their whole being,their very existence depended on Him totally. Talk of a honeymoon of a kind it really was, He recalls this later through the prophet Hosea. That is Hosea 2:14 “And now, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to start all over again. I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.” . Talk of God being romantic(sorry, I don’t have a more “reserved” word). Story for another day.
He comes out as the Hero in the life of this enslaved girl who has never experienced any form of kindness. He gives her food and clothes and shoes, and everything this girl wanted. He lavishes on her in every way He dims fit.
He makes her stay in the wilderness be a true honeymoon, her skin is not tanned because of the sun, He covers her with a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire in the night. This is what impressed me the most.
I have in many times envied these people of old . I have found myself in countless times wishing I was in that era of experiencing God the way they did, I wish I could just look up and see a pillar of cloud following me wherever I went, or some fire in the sky warming me up in the cold. That would be really great.
Recently, I have come to realize that the pillars of cloud and fire are still here, the Lord (our groom) is still stretching out that sheet of cloud and fire above us, I got to experience them and all I could tell Him was sorry for being too blinded by what was happening down here that I forgot to look up and see what He was doing.
Have you ever been in a difficult situation in your life and after getting out of it you wondered with the rest, how in the world you even survived that? I for sure have been in those seasons for countless times, a season where you sort of know that there is a greater power making you pull through, a greater being holding you together. A season that makes you really know that you are not alone.
We may not physically see the pillars of cloud and fire up above us but deep down when things that were tough came at us and we overcame we know that something happened. When we face the fire and we come out alright and whole, we realize that there was the fourth Man in the furnace. We come to terms with the fact that in the storms, the Ghost was not an enemy really, but Jesus in the flesh, calling us out to look to Him so as to remain afloat.
These pillars shielded the Israelites from the actual intensity of the desert conditions. This was something that the people outside this canopy were not experiencing. It was a greenhouse of sorts if I may say. The two pillars enabled them to move in spite of the harsh conditions. Talk of a caring and thoughtful God He was and He still is.
God in His own way is still covering His own in His canopy of love and grace, whether we choose to see it or not.
In case something bad or disappointing happens a friend of mine uses the phrase “It could have been worse.” I never really used to see the sense in what he was saying, it actually infuriated me and I thought of him as being insensitive. Lately I have come to fully understand what he really meant by saying that; that if what you are facing was really meant to come with the intensity it was intended, then it would have swept you away but God in His generosity decided to blanket you from the whole impact and what you are facing is just a drop in the ocean compared to what He has done behind the scenes.
Looking at my problems in this perspective has given me a reason to always be thankful even in the most “obvious” things. It has made me more aware of the presence of God in little things. I have gotten to a point of appreciating His peace in the middle of storms, knowing that it could have been worse if He did not hold my hand and kept His grip of me strong.
This view of life has also made me trust God in everything. The fact that He won’t make me go through the wilderness if it isn’t really necessary for me has made me to even look forward to these seasons,knowing that He is sort of calling me back to a moment of total dependence and reliance on Him. Calling me to the courtship again.
The wilderness season will always come and if you’re not in it prepare because it is coming. It is a season where everything you worked for and hoped for suddenly disappoints. It is a place where if you are not careful, you might end up being bitter with God and like the Israelites wish for the life back in Egypt. It is a place where your belief system is put to test and man you had better pass this test if you’d want to progress to the next season.
This season has a way of getting you so worked up with what is going on around you to the point of making you grumble and complain even about the smallest thing.
When you get to this season, take it all in and don’t forget to breathe. Let it get you closer and closer to the Groom, let Him quench that thirst the wilderness is bringing,let Him handle those blisters that are brought about by wandering in the wild, let Him tend to your needs, allow Him to melt those calories of disobedience, unbelief and unrighteousness.
When you get to this season, allow Him to court you again, and look above, see the pillars of Cloud and fire, see them with the eyes of faith and be assured that He is looking at you.
When the sun is scorching you or the cold is too much, look up to Him and thank Him. Whisper to yourself and say “It could have been worse.”