“God, what should I do? How should I handle this?” No answer seems to come. Do you know the feeling? Where’s God when we need Him?
Yesterday in church lines in two hymns set me to thinking. “See the cloud and fire appear” and “Let the fiery, cloudy pillar lead me all my journey through” (Lutheran Service Book 648, 3; 918, 2). Here’s the reference. “Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up” (Exodus 40:36-37).
“God, You gave clear directions then. Why not now?”
Think. Mr. and Mrs. Ben Israelite may have been having trouble with the kids, or serious problems in marriage, or poverty, or people gossiping about them, whatever, day-to-day stuff. The cloud and fire didn’t tell them how to handle that.
It did assure Mr. and Mrs. Israelite that God was guiding His people to the Promised Land. The physical forms of cloud and fire was God with them, Immanuel. We have Immanuel’s promise, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). And we have another essential they had, the Ten Commandments. “If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples” (Exodus 19:5). In fact, we have more, the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, and the Gospel of God with us in Jesus. Of course, you have to read them, prayerfully think how they apply to your problem, and then obey the simple Word.
What personal perplexing times do, I think, is keep us humble and dependent upon the Lord’s guiding Word. “You are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end” (1 Corinthians 1:7-8). “See the cloud and fire appear / For a glory and a cov’ring, / Showing that the Lord is near.”