Divine Directions

I was whining during my prayer time the other day about how I needed some direction in a certain situation. I know the Bible tells me that I’m a sheep and Jesus is my shepherd, and I’m supposed to listen to His voice. That’s great. I was all ears. But I couldn’t hear a thing. So I resorted to whining.

“Uh, Lord, I’m listening. I don’t hear anything. I really need you to tell me what to do, here.”

I didn’t hear anything audible, but something interesting did happen. I remembered something.

Back in 1997, when my son was 10 years old, I used to take an exercise walk every day while the kids were in school. I walked pretty much the same route through my neighborhood every day, and I prayed as I walked. It was a beautiful spring day, and I kept up a running monologue as I walked, just sort of babbling about the pretty flowers in bloom along the way, and praying for my children and my husband. (Yes, one of those people you see walking down the sidewalk talking to nobody – or so you thought!)

I came to the intersection where I always turned right, and I started across the street. It occurred to me that I could turn left instead. No reason really, just a break in the routine. I almost didn’t do it, but I did. A couple of blocks later, I decided to turn down an unfamiliar street. I didn’t know where it would lead, but it seemed like a nice street. And a few blocks down that street, I turned up yet another unfamiliar street. By now the thought occurred to me, “Gosh, do you think it’s God telling me to turn down this street?”

Do you remember the Bible verse in Isaiah that says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21) That seemed to be what was happening. I said, “Lord, I don’t know where you’re taking me, but wherever it is, I’ll go.”

I took one more turn, and suddenly I knew why I was being led on this detour.

About halfway down the street, I saw two boys come around a corner and head toward me on the sidewalk. I said, “Aha! Now I know why you sent me down here, Father.” It was my son and his best friend, who were supposed to be in school. When they caught sight of me they both stopped dead in their tracks, their mouths hanging open.

Of course I marched them right back to school, right into the principal’s office. They both got after-school detention for cutting class. The principal checked my son’s attendance record, and it turned out this was the first time he’d missed a class all year. He said, “What rotten luck he had, to get caught his very first time.” I just laughed. I knew luck had nothing to do with it.

When I remembered that incident the other day during my prayer time, I relaxed. God really does direct my steps. Sometimes I wish He would show up in bodily form, get in my face, and shout: “GINNY! DO THIS NOW.”

He never has. But He’s always talking to me. Sometimes I just have to listen with different ears.

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