Harvest Table

Would It Help if an Angel Went Before You?

You really don’t know how you’ll handle a situation until you are in that situation. It’s always good to remind ourselves that we may not have made a different choice or reacted any differently than the person whom we are shaking our heads at in disbelief while muttering, as Bugs Bunny would put it, “What a maroon!”

I hope I haven’t lost you yet with the Bugs Bunny quote, because God is showing me something I want to share with you. At Metro Life Church’s family meeting last Sunday night, the words that Danny and Melodye Jones spoke as Danny announced his retirement brought this back to me. I wrote this post a while ago but did not have the prompting from the Holy Spirit to share it yet. At first I thought maybe God didn’t want me to quote Bugs Bunny, but now I think it was a timing thing. God is reminding me/us that we don’t know what’s ahead. We plan and prepare in the best way we know how, but more lessons are around every corner of our lives. More lessons and more opportunities.

Thoughts about how I might handle different situations in the future come now and then, but recently while reading in Exodus they came flooding in with a new twist when I noticed something that I don’t remember reading before. A recap shows Moses leading the chosen people out of Egypt. The Red Sea is ahead of them and suddenly they are aware that the Egyptians are pursuing them. We are talking about a massive, angry army with a singular goal of overtaking the Israelites. The complaints begin, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?” (Ex 14:11)

I have marveled at this many times. The security we gain from a familiar though bad situation challenges me. But this time as I read further, verse 19 jumped out at me, “Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them.”

Wait a minute! Not only did they have a pillar of cloud, but they had an angel. An angel! It must have been an angel that they could see or I don’t think it would have been recorded in this way. How is it that we can trust so completely, see God so clearly, and yield to fear so quickly?

The answer is found in our humanity – our fallen state. We tend to look back too much and forward too little. If I saw a pillar of cloud or an angel ahead of me, would I follow with complete trust? If it moved behind me would I marvel at the reality of God pushing me forward toward where he wants me to end up (the Promised Land) while also protecting me and shielding me from my enemies? I hope so; but as I stated at the get-go, I won’t know until I get there.

And where is there? It’s simply the next spot on the journey. It might be one second from now, next month, or in ten years. We simply can’t completely know what is ahead. But, we can trust God that he has gone before us and will never leave us. And we can be kind and encouraging to one another along the way.
So as we journey individually and together, let’s remind ourselves of grace. Grace flows from the Father but needs to flow between each other. Remember the “maroon” we shake our heads at might in fact be the person we see in the mirror. Remember to look behind at God’s faithfulness but look ahead at what he is doing in front of our very eyes.

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