Partly Cloudy

Believe it or not, in spite of the sweltering heat, I actually went on a run yesterday.  Miracles DO happen! 

It was amazing to me how much the clouds dictated my running.  When the clouds covered the sun, it was so much cooler, even breezy.  I had a pep in my step, and it was almost fun.  However, when the cloud moved away from the sun, I wanted to keel over and die.  I looked like a sweaty Teletubbie dragging my feet along trying desperately to not fall over. 

Then the clouds would cover the sun again and I was a happy girl.  The clouds were my new best friends.  It reminded me of a worship song I’m familiar with that sings about “a fire by night and a cloud by day.”

The song is about the faithfulness of God.  Here’s a quick excerpt:

“Cause you are faithful, you’re always the same.
You’re faithful,  you never change.
You’re faithful, you’re always good.

Though I walk through the valley of shadow of death,
I have no doubt, you have already gone ahead.
My fire by night, my cloud by day…”

My smart friend Eliza Joy told me that the lyrics aren’t just from a song, but they’re actually taken from scripture.  So yesterday, I relied on my trusty to see exactly what it says.

The first instance I found was in Exodus 13 when God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt.  Just beginning their journey, it says “The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.”  

My Bible says that the cloud and fire were “manifestations of God’s guiding presence.”  He didn’t just say that He was with them, He literally went with them and led the way.  I love the beautiful picture that paints of a God who leads and protects His children through the unknown.   

I also think that the cloud was a way to protect them from the heat.  I mean, they were in Egypt! If the cloud is leading the way, and they’re following it, I have to assume that not only did the cloud show them where to go, but it cooled them off from the intense sun.  Just another way God meets the needs of His people—big and small. If He wanted, He could have been in a chariot in the sky, but instead He chose a cloud.   

If I were there, I would make sure I was under that cloud.  Through this cloud, there is access to God’s presence, His guidance, and His refreshment.

“Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.  For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.”
Nehemiah 9:19-21

Don’t you love that passage?  Forty years of wandering, waiting, and being super hot, and their feet didn’t even swell!  God was with them.

The same holds true for us today.  God is with us.  He loves us.  He leads us.  He knows our way.  He protects us.  He shelters us.
I long to be under the shadow of the Lord.  Even in the midst of waiting, He promises to strengthen our hot, tired, worn out, and weary hearts. 




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