For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.Exodus 40:38 (NASB)
Throughout their desert wanderings the nation of Israel had the visible presence of God in their midst. Cloud and fire was with them, cloud and fire led them through. It was a visible manifestation of His sovereign presence that gave them the direction they needed to take. Yet still they stumbled, even in His very presence. You could say the nation of Israel stumbled their way through the Old Testament. Complaining about the food, the water, whatever. Gaining their freedom in God's presence by His visible Hand and complaining about leeks and onions. Getting up every morning to pick up the very bread baked by God and grumbling about something.
I am convinced we would do no better than they did, so no smirking or feeling superior.
We do not have His visible presence, but we do have Him anchored in our life. He is not visible, but He is not hidden, not shrouded form us. He can very much be the center of our life. If we have trusted Jesus as our Savior, as the only means of our salvation, we have the indwelt Holy Spirit in our lives. So we have a better deal than Israel, not just God with us but in us. And even with that, we still stumble through our sinful and sin filled lives (I told you no smirking).We stumble, but He is there to catch us.
Good thing, as it is the only way I am getting through it all is that He did and continues to do the work I cannot and never will be able to do; being perfect before a Holy God. Trusting in the Son to reach the Father whom He revealed to us, doing it all through the agency of the Holy Spirit.
Good thing He is who He is, because of who I am and will always be.