After procrastinating with the prospect of starting a blog over the course of the summer, I have decided that now is a good time. I don’t know where this is all going for sure, but I am giving it a shot. More than anything, it’s for me – for me to process the many things going in and out of my brain and to try to attempt not to drown in it all. Recently I came across the phrase: “Action without reflection is meaningless action”. For me, this blog is my way of reflecting on the events in my life and trying to piece everything together.
The first thing that I must explain is the strange name my blog possesses. The idea can find its roots in the book of Exodus. After God delivers the Israelites from the Egyptians leading them through the Red Sea, the Israelites find themselves in a desert. And without GPS, they were in dire need for some directions to get to this so-called Promise Land. So instead of handing Moses and Aaron a map or a sheet with directions, God gives them fire and a cloud mass. The fire led the people during the night and the cloud during the day. As one reads on, the role of these begin to change. The cloud provided a barrier between the Israelites and the Egyptians the night before the Israelites would cross the Red Sea. Then the day of the crossing, “the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic.” Eventually, the Israelites construct a tabernacle, and we discover that the “cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” We also learn that when the cloud was upon the tabernacle, the Israelites would not proceed, but if the cloud was taken up, they would continue their journey.
And it’s this metaphor that helps to describe the journey I’m on. There are times when fire lights my path, when I feel near to God, when I sense the kingdom of God is at hand, when the hope of the Promised Land can be seen just beyond the horizon. All things all clear; nothing is fuzzy or muddled. But there are also times when the cloud has descended upon me, when I am not taking steps in my journey, when I cannot see ten feet in front of me on account of the dense fog. During these times, it’s difficult to see the grand scheme of things and it’s easy to get frustrated. The kingdom of heaven seems like an idealistic after thought, and the hope we find in Christ at the cross is dissolved.
Even with all this ‘guidance’ the Israelites still found a way to wander in the desert for forty years. The idea of a ‘faith journey’ is often employed in church settings and I think it’s a fitting way to look at it. Much like the Israelites though, this journey make take us in circles, past familiar landmarks and scenery. Similar to the Israelites, we walk without knowing we are going. So we just walk – step after step after step. Wanderings upon wanderings. Yes, we may seem something new now and again, and come across something that excites us for a time, but as we continue, we seem to forget quite easily, which in turn, just leads us right back to wandering. And yet, this is what I find life to be. Fires, clouds, and wanderings.