I came across this passage today: “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” (Exodus 13: 21-22) Reading this, I thought, “How amazing it must have been to be able to look outside morning or night and know that God was right there!”
God’s presence was obvious: All it took was a look to know that God was with them. The cloud by day and the fire by night were obvious signs of God’s presence.
God’s presence was consistent: It never left its place in front of the people. When they woke up in the morning, they knew that God was not going abandon them. They could count on him.
God’s presence was comforting: I remember one of my professors in college talking about the comfort of the fire at night. The fire brought warmth, light and guidance to the people.
At this time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, I think it’s very appropriate to remember the benefits of having God with us. Jesus was referred to as Immanuel, which means “God with us”. His presence is obvious, he never leaves us and I know the comfort that comes from being one of his children.
As the year winds down, I am going to spend some time reflecting on how I have seen God’s presence in my life, my family and my ministry during 2012. I am also going to spend some time looking ahead. Another benefit God’s presence brings: Confidence. I am looking forward to the year ahead, for I will have opportunity to see more signs of God’s presence in 2013.