Pillar of Fire


Isaiah 48:17

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you,

   who directs you in the way you should go.”

For years I’ve often said that my greatest strength is also my greatest weakness.  Although technically undiagnosed, I believe a certain level of OCD resides within me.  It can be a blessing when channeled in the right direction, destruction when it is not.   This blessing which allows me to accomplish substantial tasks in record time, has also led me into paths of addiction at various times of my life.  This attribute which caused me to complete all known assignments for a graduate level college class in the first two weeks is the same quality that causes me to so easily lose focus of the true priorities in my life.

It would seem so easy if we could have God lead us with a pillar of smoke and fire as He did the Israelites.  Yet, they still managed to wander 40 years in the desert before receiving what God had promised them.  Ironically enough, at 40 years old I am feeling as if for the first time in my life, I’m truly receiving the promises God has made to me.  Many of my previous struggles have revolved around decisions to a commitment to “follow” or “not follow” God. Feeling that I’ve finally decided to follow, I now seek to be “lead” on a “moment-by-moment” basis.

There is nothing more wonderful than knowing that you are precisely where God wants you to be at a specific moment, doing exactly what he wants you to do.  I believe it is in these places where God reveals himself to us at the most personal and intimate levels.  The greatest challenge comes when we try to be “lead” each moment while managing and balancing our many responsibilities related to home, work, and ministry.  To overly simplify the situation… there are bills to pay, children to raise,  “lost” to be saved, and most importantly our God to seek.

I’ve shared all this so I may make one simple request,  “Can it snow tomorrow?”  If it does I promise I’ll make the time to take all 3 of my boys out and prove to them why I call myself the “Snow Ninja.”  Can my wife ask me again to please tell her what (delicious) meals I’d like her to make this week.  If it snows tomorrow, I’ll focus a little more on helping one child make that perfect paper airplane, take just a moment to see the newest level reached on “tank destroyer” by a 5 year old, or take a teenager out to drive for the first time on snowy roads.  I missed out on all these precious moments yesterday because I was more focused on “working” on something I thought God would have wanted me to.  Next time I’ll ask, rather than assume.

At times we can become so passionate about something, no matter how good (or Godly) it may be, that we fail to focus on doing what God would like us to be doing.  We have no “Pillar of Smoke or Fire” to show us, but we do have the Holy Spirit within us.  Among many names for the Holy Spirit, He is known to be our “Counselor and Guide.”  I’m thankful at this moment that He is also our “Teacher.”  At first I mourned for the “snow of yesterday” that I lost, I now rejoice in the “everything of today and tomorrow” I’ll now gain.

“God, may I seek and desire to be where You would lead me every moment of my life.  May my calendar and daily schedule be set according to your appointments.  I thank You for allowing me the freedom and flexibility to make choices and have options.  Knowing this, may my choices be those that bring the most Glory to you, and blessing to others.  One last thing, please let it snow.”