I’m always looking for the red thread that ties things together, as if my blog header wasn’t an indication of that. I love to see the interconnectedness of events and circumstances, because I see God’s fingerprint so clearly that way.
It’s easy for me to see that red thread the farther along I get in a particular season and reflect on the previous ones, but it’s virtually impossible for me to see how it continues to weave itself in the moment. I can’t help but wonder if this is so I won’t get so hung up on the here and now that I forget to move ahead to the next moment. I think there was a reason the pillars of cloud and fire traveled ahead of the Israelites rather than staying in the midst of them — it was to keep them moving forward. If the pillars walked in step with them, they would probably have gotten comfortable right where they were and set up permanent camp amid their oppression. The exodus from their bondage in Egypt was at times no doubt excruciating, but when they finally got a chance to look back over the horizon from the banks of the newly-crossed Jordan, I imagine it was a sight to behold. After all, deserts are breathtakingly beautiful landscapes… if the soles of one’s feet are not actually touching the scorching sand.
One truth that has been standing out to me lately is how God doesn’t always wait for us to complete our desert wandering before He seeks our obedience. Sometimes, He asks for it while we’re still scraping manna off the ground and rubbing our aching feet. He has a way of catching us off guard; after all, if we were prepared to go where He intended to lead us, would we ever truly appreciate the journey? Or, if we knew well beforehand what we were called to do, how many excuses would we make for why we weren’t qualified to do it?
There’s freedom in knowing that God doesn’t expect perfection; He doesn’t even expect adequacy. All He expects is obedience. As I look around at others who have said yes to God, one red thread seems to weave their stories together — God called them while there was still fresh sand between their toes, in that sacred moment when what was still lingered fresh and raw in their minds, and what will be traveled ahead of them, pillar of cloud by day, and pillar of fire by night.