The very last Passuk (verse) of this week’s Parsha, Pekudei, tells us that “a cloud rested over the Mishkan by day, fire will appear in it at night, in the view of all the house of Israel throughout their journeys” (40:38). Why is fire the only object described in future tense? What does “throughout their journeys” add, especially considering the fact that they didn’t travel at night, which means that roughly half the time they weren’t really traveling?
One possible answer these questions is that “journeys” refers to our everyday life, and that G-d is with us day and night, helping us with our struggles. So why use future tense? Knowing that G-d will be with us in future challenges comforts us now, and prepares us for whatever the future holds. Perhaps that is also why the flame isn’t separate from the cloud, but burns within it. Our support system is always there, from within, coming in the form of family and friends, but starting with G-d Himself.