“Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30: 21
My family and I stayed in a cabin during a recent trip to do some hiking in southern Ohio. I had planned the route ahead of time by using my GPS on my iphone. I was confident that the navigation system many people rely on would get us there. Just in case we didn’t have cell service, I decided to look ahead at the directions and take screenshots to save on my phone, just to be on the safe side.
At the end of our travels and many curves and hills later, the GPS said those magic words, “You have arrived at your destination.” The only problem was, we weren’t where we were supposed to be. We were expecting to arrive at a place called Hideaway Cabins. It appeared we would soon learn the reason for the name of our cabin. As we looked all around searching to the left and to the right, we found nothing. We continued driving straight thinking it was just around a corner. No such luck. We pulled into a driveway to turn around and contact the owner of the cabin. After a conversation on the phone and returning to the location where GPS said we had arrived, there it was. Not the cabin but a steep drive that was there all along with a sign that said Hideaway Cabins, and an arrow pointing up. When we stopped before, the driveway had been on our left but headed up a steep hill going backward toward the direction we were coming from. It was there, we just didn’t see it. We expected the cabin to be easy to see in plain daylight, because it was in fact daylight.
Once we got to the top of the steep drive, there was our beautiful cabin. The pictures online couldn’t even compare to the beauty of the cabin and its surroundings. Though we had made the trip to do some hiking and other activities, staying a week in that cabin with no plans of leaving, would have been alright with me! Seeing God’s beautiful artwork atop that hill, especially after a long drive and the challenge in finding the cabin, was rewarding to the eyes and my tired soul.
Our journey in finding our cabin that day reminded me of my walk with God. Many times, God will lead me right where he needs me to be during the day. However, I don’t recognize the surroundings as a place where I can serve him. Maybe it’s in the grocery store where I’m already rushing to get groceries and get home to prepare supper for my family; when I run into one of the moms whose daughter plays basketball with mine. As she starts talking about a trial in her life, instead of actively listening to be able to lead her to God, all I’m thinking of is that I can’t forget to grab that can of beef broth located right behind her. We’ve all been there!
When we start our morning off with God, to begin the day and we pray, “God take my hand and lead the way, thank you for the opportunities to serve you today.” Then he leads us right to the exact location he needs us to be, to the very opportunity we prayed for. But just like that steep drive going backwards, we must stop and pay attention to see the path he is leading us. It always amazes me, shortly after I realize what’s going on and where I’m being led, that moment I feel the same feeling in my heart that I did seeing our beautiful cabin, God you are so good!
But so many times at the end of my day I wonder why I didn’t get any opportunities to share the gospel, and I wonder what I missed seeing. Maybe I missed the steep hill leading me to a beautiful opportunity to serve our God, because it felt like I was going to go backwards compared to what ‘my plan’ was for the day. If only we heard God’s voice as plain as we hear the GPS. If only we could hear God say, “You have arrived at your destination.” Then we would know to put on Jesus, to stop doing what we are doing or thinking what we are thinking. To actively listen or see the person in front of us and give them our testimony that led us to God in hopes it helps them.
But the thing is, that’s not the relationship God wants with us. He doesn’t want us to treat him like an app we can turn on or off. He doesn’t want us to be able to hit ‘end route’ at the end of the journey. He wants to be in constant communication with us. He wants us to always be ready, to always be looking for the route to lead others to Him; whether it’s an easy walk around the corner to a good friend, or a steep walk uphill. He doesn’t ever want us to ‘turn Jesus off.’
For it says in 1 Peter 3: 15 to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.’
In 2 Timothy 4: 2-5 it says, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers. They will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” In other words, ‘Be watchful for the steep climb up the hill.’
I pray that God lead us both to be in constant communication with him, so we can recognize the spirit say, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ For then one day he will call us home to live with Him, in a beautiful cabin atop of the hill.