Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, June 18

Thy steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to Thee.
—Psalm 26:3

When Moses led the people of Israel into the desert of the Sinai, God went before them to lead them, as a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night (See Exodus 13:21). They were not wandering randomly: God was leading them. Although they could not know where they were going, they knew they were following God.

So it can be with us: We too, like the Israelites, like the Psalmist, can walk in faithfulness toward God, because God’s steadfast light is before our eyes. Not perhaps as a pillar of fire in the desert night, but as a beacon nonetheless.

The German poet Rilke seems in his poem “A Walk” to be traveling in this luminous, faithful way toward his own transformation.

My eyes already touch the sunny hill,
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has its inner light, even from a distance—
and changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are…

“So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp,” which “changes us, even if we do not reach it, into something which…we already are.”

This dynamic of journeying toward something beyond ourselves, which we cannot comprehend, but which claims us and transforms us into our truer selves even while we are still on the way—this is the pilgrim way to which we each are called. It also speaks of the mysterious “already but not yet” at the heart of our faith—we are on the way, but in some sense we are already there.

God of fire and cloud, you lead us in ways we do not understand, by day and by night. Because your steadfast love always precedes us, we are able to walk in faithfulness to you. Thank you for continuing to change us, ever more deeply, into your own people.

The Signposts for June are written by Deborah Smith Douglas and originally appeared on in May 2005.