I hear Jesus’ voice and He calls me by name and leads me out.Jesus goes before me and I follow Him, for I know His voice.I will by no means follow a stranger.
More than likely, most of you have experienced getting to and fro these days by means of a navigation system. Whether you opted for this fine option on the car you recently purchased or invested in a portable version, these systems are quite handy to own. Often, we find names for the voices behind the turn-by-turn instructions and she/he becomes a lifesaver for those of us who are directionally challenged.
I am happy to report that I have been gifted with a great sense of direction and cannot measure the number of miles I have traveled in my forty-two years! However, as I navigate through unknown territory I am wise enough not to depend on my own sense, but instead to consult the expertise of my Suburban’s built-in navigation system.
Recently, while visiting my daughter in Knoxville, Tennessee, I decided to make a quick run to Walmart. She was not home at the time, so I keyed “Walmart” into the system and selected my choice of location. In minutes, I was off and rolling. The nearest Walmart was six miles…"this will be a breeze", I thought. The route led me down backwwood, mountainous roads, around a quarry, through neighborhoods, along highways, and around curves. My thoughts, after several miles into the trip were,
I must have missed it somewhere?
Maybe I should turn around?
Perhaps I got off track?
Suddenly, out of nowhere the Walmart appeared on my left…just as I was questioning the voice that led me…just as I was about to turn around, regroup and head in a different direction…just when I was about to give up!
Instantly, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. For any of us who decide to follow Jesus and allow Him to set the course for our lives, there will be times along the journey that we find ourselves questioning the guidance we were given. Sometimes, we step out in a direction and find it to be a place of loneliness and our fleshly nature fights to retreat back to the beloved comfort zone. Other times, the route can be so difficult and challenging that we begin to question whether or not we truly heard the voice of God? So many times in our own marriage, we knew we heard God’s voice telling us to go here or there, but when we got there, we were surrounded by trouble, causing us to second-guess our decision to follow. In every situation, we stayed the course and around the corner and down the loooooooong hill we ended up in GLORY.
“You shall hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, Walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
We have found our Great Shepherd to be the only infallible navigation system for our lives. Not once in our twenty-five years of serving Christ together have we ever been led astray. Even when it “looked” like we had taken a wrong turn, our obedience proved to be the correct choice on every occasion. He has been faithful to lead us by the still waters for times of rest and comfort – down long, continuous roads for times of patience and perseverance - along the rocky mountainside for times of trusting – through the low valleys for times of testing – along unknown territories for times of learning – through the thickets for times of pruning – to walk on water for lessons in faith – but all ending atop a summit for times of joy, laughter, victory and reward.
God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. – Psalm 32:8
Just like the navigation system in your vehicle, God is responsible to present the turn-by-turn instructions for your life. However, YOU are responsible to seek Him and obey the directions you are given. Although it will not always “look” right at the time, we must continue under the command of the Master Navigator. Your way may be long and it may be trying, but somewhere up around the corner is your “WALMART” and if you walk by faith and not by sight, you will be shopping there with unlimited funds in no time.
One month ago, my family and I stood at what I referred to in my last blog as a “Red Sea” sort of crossroads.We were desperately in need of God’s grace in order to prevail and see our daughter successfully walk on dry ground to the other side.Today, as a family, we stand on the side of VICTORY!The cries of joy and the celebrations are over, but NOT the lessons I learned or the GRATITUDE I have for God’s amazing GRACE.
It was a journey indeed, but once again, our faithful Shepherd went before us, guiding us to the place of victory.I wish I could personally speak to each of you to relay just HOW God spoke to me during this process because it is difficult to put into words.However, I will try.I‘ve been told that I always have a story!
Once I became aware that we were facing a desperate situation, I immediately went to God in prayer.To be honest with you, I prayed for four days with no release.I heard no answers and felt no peace in my heart for this particular request.It was as if a ceiling held my prayers captive.It was not until I began to make the eleven hour drive to my home state of Tennessee that I received a word from the Lord ensuring me of a victorious outcome.He plainly spoke, “I delivered her back there.”I had no idea at the time exactly what “back there” meant, but I clung to the promise of victory God was showing me.
Within days, God began to reveal His omniscience regarding our situation.He said, “You see yourself at the edge of the Red Sea needing deliverance as my people, the Israelites, did, but what they never realized was that I delivered them “back there” in Egypt.The crossing of the Red Sea was merely another obstacle that stood before them, but MY deliverance had already been provided.”“It is the same with your daughter!I delivered her “back there” and what stands in her way HERE is only a hurdle that I will help her to cross.”He showed me the place where he had delivered our daughter “back there!” I wept…
What I began to see was that God had delivered Alyse out of a desperate situation BEFORE any of us ever knew there was a situation.She did not even know! THAT IS OMNISCIENCE!!!!!!So often, God reveals a situation to us and we begin praying about it.Somehow, we believe that WHEN we begin to pray, it is God’s wake-up call to begin moving in the situation, but what God showed me was that HE had already delivered and taken care of our daughter before we ever knew there was a problem to pray about! When God called us to prayer,HE was simply choosing to partner with us.God can do it all by Himself.He is perfectly able.However, He chooses to co-labor with us.
Four days after the revelation that Alyse was delivered “back there,” God gave me a dream.When I awoke, He gave me the interpretation of my dream, complete with instructions for the part I was to play the next six days.The instructions were simply this,“Consecrate this day unto Me and in six days I want you to SHOUT and I will cause Alyse to cross this hurdle in victory.I was out of town, staying with my mom.Together, we consecrated the day unto God in praise, prayer, and fasting.On the sixth day, at exactly the moment Alyse was to be tested, we shouted together and God gave our daughter the above and beyond victory! Was I afraid of looking stupid? Absolutely, but I shouted anyway.
Please understand that faithful people were praying for us all the way from South Africa to California, so I am in nowise saying that “I” was the only reason for a victorious outcome.I can only tell you that God gave me specific instructions, for which I was responsible and I willingly obeyed.
I feel a sense of vulnerability in placing this information out before all my readers, but someone needs to hear this message:
God has your life under control and in the palm of His hand even when you cannot see it.
We are not always aware of His delivering Hand.Sometimes, it is disguised in the missed test due to sickness, missing the bus, being late to the meeting, etc.
Do not follow the instructions you see for another’s deliverance.Seek God for the instructions He has specific to YOUR situation.
Only do what God says to do.Often we stress ourselves out trying to fast for 40 days and quote scriptures for hours.If that is the instruction God gives you, then by all means obey, but there is a place of rest in the Lord while you wait andIf all He requires is a shout on a set day at a set time, then SHOUT my friend.Do not respond as Naaman did in the beginning when he believed the command of dipping in the Jordan River seven times to cure his leprosy was absurd!
Obedience is better than Sacrifice – 1 Samuel 15:22
I want you to know that you were created for VICTORY.We were made to be overcomers in all things because Christ lives within us.Do not allow your desperate situations to keep you in fear and doubt.God has already delivered you “back there.”So rest!