The Lord has blessed me with a very analytical child. We have known this since her birth. From the moment her little eyes opened to the world, you could see her observing all that she could and pondering every facet of this great-big place. We found it so endearing and adorable. Sshe was always so quiet, lost in thought, busy with a world of discoveries. But then we taught her to talk, or perhaps she figured that part all on her own. However it came about, all I know is that the moment she uttered those first words was the same moment I lost most of my sanity.
Everything is now a “Why?” or “How come?” Everything.
Why is it called July? How come July is so hot? If it’s fall now, why isn’t it cold? Why are the days short in the fall? How come we have to clean our room when I just want to play again tomorrow? I wash my hands, why am I sick? Why do I have to take a bath all the time? How come you never take a bath? (Answer: Because I’m too busy answering a million questions to have time for a bath.)
These questions really come to a head whenever we get in the car headed to a new anticipated destination. “What road is this? What direction are we headed? Why is this road called Washington? Did Washington live here? How long before the next city? How long is an hour? What’s the name of the next city? Why is it called that? How many cities till we are there? Well, how long does that take? How long is three hours? Are you sure you are going the right way? When do we get to eat? Are we ever going to eat again? Have you ever even been here before?
My daughter knows I know how to drive. She knows I can read a map. As far as she can tell, we have never been lost. I’ve never failed to get us where we were headed, but still with the questions! No matter how correct or direct my answers are, she still can’t stand not being in control of her destination and not knowing every facet of the road to get her there. She wants the big picture, but she’s only 5.
In the midst of all the travel interrogations, I can’t help but find a deep correlation here to the Israelites traveling the wilderness without a visible roadmap.
On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.
So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.
— Numbers 9:15–17
My child can’t comprehend time or roadmaps just yet, but she has a guide: me, the driver who knows the way. The Israelites also had a guide. It was pretty cut and dried: follow the pillar, whether it be cloud or fire through day and night. “So it was always.” God, their guide, never left them, he always showed them the way, brought them to where they needed to be when they needed to be there, then continued them on their way to the destination at just the right time.
Where are you in life? Maybe things are rough. Maybe you feel lost in the desert. You’ve got a lot of questions: “How much further through this wilderness? Where is the destination? How could I possibly get there from here?” But remember, like my kid and the Israelites, you also have a guide. He can read the map, he sees the whole picture, and he knows how to get you there. And though I’ve been very tempted to leave my child on the side of the interstate during her barrage of questions, I know I would never actually do that, because the love for my child is unending, just like our Father in heaven’s love for us is unending. So follow your guide. Take it step by step, day by day. God knows your route. He will not abandon you along the way. So it will be always.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
— Isaiah 58:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
— Jeremiah 29:11