The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. (Exodus 13:21 NRSV)
A figure like the movie version of the Ghost of Christmas Future points its finger toward the fog and I enter it. I find myself climbing a mountain, above timberline, like a mountain from the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. My hips and legs work fine and I can remember the pleasure that comes when your legs can lift your body in such a steep climb.
I come to a slightly level, though uneven, spot partly covered with some kind of soft vegetation like moss or grass. Throughout this brief experience, I am enveloped in the fog, my pillar of cloud. There is no visibility in the area around or below this mountain — in fact, no visibility beyond about three feet from where I am.
Thus I can see neither the beautiful vistas that might be around me, nor the potential dangers that might frighten me and cause me to lose my footing. My focus is limited to the here and now, the steps and resting places of the present.
But I am in the pillar of cloud and the assurances comes:
“You’re exactly where I want you to be.”
I must keep remembering Abraham who went forth in faith to a promised, but unrevealed, land that God “will show you” sometime in the undefined future.