Week 17 Monday

Day or Night

Today’s scripture selection: Exodus 13-16

Key verses: Exodus 13:21-22

One of the dramatic elements of the exodus story that I have always loved is that of the “pillar of cloud” and “pillar of fire”.

In this way the people who were being freed from slavery could travel with guidance by day – or night.

Isn’t that the way we all travel from bondage to something?

Sometimes we can see pretty clearly – but it is still reassuring to know that God is present with us, leading the way. Other times the way ahead seems black as night. That’s when it is really helpful to see the glimmering flame of God’s love just ahead.

Maybe that’s why God chose these dramatic, ever present, signs for His people.

It also keeps us from falling into another temptation – thinking that we got ourselves out of a mess – all by ourselves. How often I hear people cry out to God in crisis, only to hear them say – once on the other side of the crisis – “Boy, I sure am glad that’s over! Good thing I kept calm and….”

Then they go on to explain what brilliant or talented thing they had done to solve the crisis.

Now, I don’t mean to discount that human effort, and following the advice to “keep calm and carry on” is often helpful in any crisis. I just think we ought to entertain the idea that maybe God has something to do with our “miraculously” finding our way out of that mess in the first place.

Like the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night – God is there – guiding, inspiring, calming, and loving – just as He promised He would.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your abiding presence, in light and darkness. AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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