As I reflect on how God used a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to lead the Israelites through the desert, I am reminded of my own journey. Growing up as a Rwandan refugee in Uganda, there were times when I became desperate, losing the direction and meaning of life. Socioeconomic challenges were so intense that my vision of the future grew bleak.
As a child, my parents taught me to seek God’s help, so during those dark times, I would ask God to manifest Himself to me in visible ways. God brought me an “angel” in the form of my high school physics teacher, who provided desperately needed direction and guidance. He spoke hope into my life, creating a sense of clarity and purpose that led to where I am today: helping other families pool their resources to fight poverty.
God leads His people in many wonderful ways. For me, it was a mature believer who faithfully pointed to God and His plan. For the Israelites, it was the pillars of cloud and fire. With no GPS, they badly needed a reliable guide for their journey. God provided, and indeed, “Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people” (Exodus 13:22).
In the Exodus, in my own story, and most likely in yours as well, God draws near to lead and guide His people. Even when we are weak, limited in knowledge, and unaware of what is around and ahead of us, He is there to lead us with omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. As believers, we are called to be attentive and obedient to God’s presence and guidance. Whether in the valley or on the mountaintop, may we realize we are lost without Him.
Lord, help us always look to You for direction. Reveal Your will to us, and strengthen us to follow You faithfully. Let our lives point to You as we model reliance on Your leading rather than our own understanding.
by Rev. Erisa Mutabazi, HOPE regional director of Africa savings group programs