Way-markers: Pastor's pen for 27th September 2020

'The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.' (Exodus 13: 21-22 NRSV)

Funny how a week or two can alter one's trajectory of travel. A couple of weeks back I was concluding several months worth of preparation for the rescheduled Rotorua Marathon, which is this weekend. Now Aucklanders are excluded (because, well, Covid) I needed a plan B. After feeling sorry for myself momentarily, I was able to ask, 'What can God do with this time?'

Plan B fell into my lap, as it were. You know how you realize something will need to be addressed, but you leave it on the back-burner of the mind until it looms at the last minute? Instead of Rotorua we are now off to Napier to look for suitable accommodation for my parents where they will be close to family and be able to access care and assistance when needed. We will also have the convenience of being together with my brother's family and my parents to celebrate Dad's 80th birthday. Time flies, I remember his 40th reasonably clearly.

The Israelites had the advantage of God's leading through the wilderness via a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. Pretty freaky if you ask me, but helpful. Still, they managed to take 40 long years to get to the promised land of Canaan. No Google maps in those days.

Can I suggest their wilderness journey was typical of the human interaction with the guidance and direction of God? There is this interface where human desires connect with God's will. I think Christian history and personal experience show following God can be a pretty bumpy ride. Sin and self-determination grate against God's best for God's people. Sparks sometimes fly.

Yet we can trust in God to lead and guide. His grace and mercy are vast. The events of this weekend are small in the wider view, yet they may be important to me and my family. I feel at peace regarding our plan B for this weekend. Out of disruption God can bring something good. My prayer is that we can all be aware of God's way-markers and loving action in the midst of the disruption of normal life.

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