But if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. (Ex. 40:37)

I took up sewing in late elementary school. But I quickly learned that following a pattern was not my thing. My impatience got the better of me more than once. Combine my unwillingness to follow instructions with my puffed-up confidence in my beginner abilities, and what I ended up with was a sleeve around my neck. Having forged ahead with what I thought best, I had accidentally sewed what was meant to be a dress sleeve around the wrong opening—and there was no way I could pass it off as a turtleneck.

I could have learned a few lessons from the Israelites here. They didn’t budge unless they saw God go ahead of them. When he stayed, they stayed. When he moved, they moved. And as a result, they journeyed through life together (at least for a season).

We all can get ahead of ourselves and of God. We get impatient. We don’t see God’s purposes outside of our narrow perspectives. We don’t follow his plan. While we may not have the benefit of God dwelling among us in cloud form, we are not left to wander on our own. We can still move in the direction of his Word and his Spirit. We can sit and learn to be content in the waiting. We just have to be willing to watch, to listen, and to get up and go when the time comes.

Look for God’s footprints in your daily life and follow them.

Sarah E. Westfall resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband Ben and their four boys. She really wants a nap.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.