The temperature is rising, the sand is hot on my feet, and the sun beats down on my head. I try to plod on in the shallows, keeping my feet as wet and cool as possible. Suddenly a cloud covers the sun; the temperature seems to drop a few degrees, and my eyes feel a welcome respite from the glare of light reflected on the water. I’m grateful for the cloud and its minutes of sheltering coolness. I think of the flight from Egypt in the book of Exodus, when God went before His people by day in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire. I can’t imagine any more welcome sight in the hot desert than a cloud, promising rain, leading forward and demonstrating God’s ability to provide shelter from the heat. It’s clear to me that God always provides us with the shelter our spirits need, whether that shelter is relief from heat, warmth in a frigid climate, or water when our souls are parched. Thank you, God, for the many pillars with which you lead us, and for the types of shelters you provide for our deepest needs. Amen.