Following the Cloud

Today was a significant day for me at Northern Colorado Rehab Hospital. I was joined with State Representative Perry Buck in presenting a tribute honoring Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital and Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. This was my home for three and a half months in 2013. It was good to see the cross section of the staff present and to have a representative from Ernest Health, the parent company of the hospitals present. Members of the local media were also present and even joined us on the tour of the hospital.

I used my four-wheel walker to get into the building. Dr. Lanig the Medical Director was walking in at the same time, she said, “I didn’t realize you were so tall.” I  don’t think she had ever seen me standing, only sitting in a wheelchair or in bed. It was also good to see and visit with Dr. Asadi who is the medical director for the acute care hospital. He was very impressed with my progress and reminded me of the challenges the I faced and overcame to get to this point.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY “…the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.So it was always: the cloud covered it by dayand the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.”  Numbers 9:15-17

I recall a message I shared many years ago based on this passage entitled, “Following the Cloud or Following the Crowd.” When you read the entire description of the Lord’s presence guiding the Children of Israel through the “cloud by day and fire by night” it reveals a total dependence upon the Lord.

When the cloud moved so did the Children of Israel, when the cloud stopped they stopped. Sometimes it was a day or a few days,  sometimes it was months. Moses’ job was to simply keep his eye on the cloud. When the cloud moved everyone had an assigned responsibility to perform in order for the people to move forward in an organized manner. As they were prepared to set out Moses would say, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.” And when it rested, he said, “Return, O Lord, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”  (Numbers 10:15)

For forty years in the wilderness the Children of Israel were in total dependence upon the Lord directing them step by step to the next destination, and ultimately the Promised Land. If they were inpatient and took off on their own they did so without the cloud. If they felt like they did not have enough time at a place and wanted to stay a while longer and the cloud moved on, they would be left  behind. When God said “move” the moved. When God said, “stop” they stopped.

It sounds simple, but it is a test of trust and obedience and patience. It was a reminder that not even Moses was in control, God was! Our greatest challenge in life is to follow the cloud of God’s presence and the path He has laid out for us. We make our plans, we have our goals, we have our “to do” list, we are people of action on the go! But are we moving in the direction that Lord is leading. Perhaps God is saying it’s time to get going. At other times He is saying it is time to rest, to stay put.”

As I consider this, I recall Jesus getting up before the sunrise and going to a private place of prayer. After the prayer time He returns to His disciples and says, “it is time to move on.” They were confused about that when things were going so well where they were. But Jesus was showing them, you have to follow the “cloud” not the “crowd.” You can’t let others and you can’t let your own desires circumvent where God is leading and where He is going.

As I am in this time of “resting” it serves as a good opportunity for the Lord to show me how eager I have been to chart my own course and head off in my own direction without making sure the He was leading the way. I am thankful that God is always “with us” but that challenge for us is to make sure that we are allowing Him to lead the way. Follow the cloud and you will get to the Promised Land.