"And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way." [Exodus 13:21]
It seems that cloud and pillar of fire are bound up in Scripture with thoughts of guidance. When Israel was wandering in the wilderness, each new day began with the sight of this impenetrable cloud. What would this day bring? Would they journey forward or would they wait another day in the camp?
It seems as though, following our accident a year ago, my husband and I have spent a lot of days waiting for the cloud to move. Yet looking back I see the cloud which overshadowed us did move, but it was according to our Lord's timetable, not ours. Days in the hospital, then with our youngest daughter in Albany, our eldest daughter in Independence, at the end of September our own home in Wilsonville.
It seems like we're still following the cloud, but I continue to read Exodus. When Moses lingered at the foot of the mountain, he heard a voice of his Friend calling. Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there... Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. [Exodus 24:12, 15 ] In the cool darkness of the cloud Moses beheld the glory of the Lord and heard His voice.
It is so with us. Day by day, as we look forward into the hours which rush up before us, we see not clear skies but a cloud. Then a Voice we know calls softly, "Come up to Me, and be here." The cloud of the unknown, then becomes for us the over-shadowing wings of the Lord; "I have . . . hid you in the shadow of my hand," [Isaiah 51:16].
We sit under His shadow. His shadow is greater than our life's shadows. His presence is real. "With great delight I sat in his shadow and his fruit was sweet to my taste." [Song of Solomon 2:3]. This fruit we first tasted in the dark alone with Him, will be ours to share with others. "What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs." [Matthew 10:27 NIV]
There is JOY in the shadow, a purpose for the pain. God never wastes our tears--they are precious to Him.