Pastor’s Desk June 10th

Scripture Passage:  “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:  He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”   Exodus 13:21-22
Dear Friends,
     The VBS theme this last week was focused upon the goodness of God.  Many of the stories were from the book of Exodus about the Israelites journey out of Egypt to the Promised Land.  We studied about the persecution of God’s people at the hands of the Egyptians and how God heard their cry and sent them a deliverer, Moses.  We learned how God sent Moses in His Great Name and allowed ten plagues to take place so Pharaoh would experience His great power.  We studied how the people grumbled and complained as they wandered through the wilderness and how God supplied them with manna, quail, and water in spite of their lack of faith.  We learned how God delivered the people from their sadness by the hand of Moses and how God has delivered His people today from sin by the hand of His Son, Jesus.  All of these stories exemplified the goodness of God sent to us in times of adversity.  “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.”
     In studying these passages, one thing stood out to me – the people had not experienced the presence of God for over four hundred years and now they were seeing visible signs of the power and majesty of Holy God on a regular basis.  They would see signs of His power through His miracles and benefit from His provisions.  They would celebrate for a period of time, after which, they would become complacent and begin to complain again.  God would hear their cry and provide for their needs even though they did not deserve it.  (This is grace revealed in the Old Testament.)  Even though they were experiencing miracles that only God could do, they would quickly forget them when walking through the wilderness of adversity.  There is one more visible sign that makes their lack of faith even more unbelievable – they had the presence of God leading them in a pillar of a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.  He was always there and the only way they could miss Him was to totally ignore the signs of His presence. Does this sound familiar?
     Through a series of events, a recent journey Patty and I made turned out to be a wilderness adventure.  We had car trouble over the course of two days and found ourselves worrying and doubting whether we would make it back home again.   Every stop and every mile seemed to produce another malfunction even the though the car kept running and we kept going.  We traveled 636 miles like this. We made it home and the car died on the road in front of our house. Would you call this coincidence or fate?  Would you say we were lucky?  If the electrical power had failed as we went through Chattanooga, we would have been stuck in traffic, blocking traffic in the middle of rush hour.  If it had occurred on the interstate, we would have been stranded waiting for a tow truck to haul us home. Looking back now, I see a pillar of a cloud that was leading us on, and a pillar of fire that was behind us protecting us.  I realize His presence kept both of us calm and practical wisdom learned through prior experiences gave me confidence to keep on going.  I am a “What if” person and most of the time all the possible scenarios are rotating through my mind.  I was not my usual self.  I realize now, God was with us each mile of the way and the only way I could have missed it was to totally ignore Him.  Thank you Lord for your grace and mercy that protects fools like me.  Amen!
In Christ, Pastor Johnny