I was irritated.
In desperate need of a break last semester, I had planned to take the long way home for thanksgiving along the coast. But things came up and I left late… making it impossible to get to the prettier parts of the coast before the sun went down (don’t you hate winter?).
So in a foul mood, I made the trek through the congested streets of LA to the boring farmlands of central California…
…it’s funny how God makes the mundane beautiful.
I spent the car ride giving my usual complaints to the Lord: “Am I in the right place in life?” “Everyone seems to be moving on in life. Why do I feel stuck?” “How long will I stay in this season of isolation?”
As if the Lord got tired of my whining, I saw a flash to the right of me. I looked and saw nothing but darkness. Confused, I kept going. Another flash. Looked, darkness again. The third time it happened, I was determined to see what was doing it, so I intently switched from the road in front of me and the dark night sky to the east… and I saw it.
A storm was brewing to the east somewhere just north of Fresno. It was dark and hard to see. But every few minutes, lightning would strike and the dark grays and blacks of the cloud would be transformed to brilliant pink and yellow sharply against the starry sky. The cloud was persistent. It seemed run north with me up that long stretch of I-5 and endless farmland.
I remembered how in Exodus, the Lord would lead the Israelites through the wilderness in a cloud. And that still small voice, which I had lost in the midst of busy-ness and ministry success, that I so desperately needed, whispered to me, “I have been, and will always be with you. I lead you and I follow you; I cover your every step. Remember that the only right place to be is with Me, where you are never alone.”
I couldn’t stop looking to the right the rest of the time I was on the freeway. As I exited I-5 onto 152 westwards towards San Jose, I found myself shaken.
…shaken, but not alone.