I get to these places quite often it seems – to these forks in the road. “Good morning to you too, Universe,” I might like to say whenever cutlery crosses my path. “I see there’s a message here somewhere.” But I usually keep walking in the way I was headed.
Still, I know that there is change afoot. I can see it, feel it, sense it. Every time I see a fork in the road, I know there is a turn to take – even if I don’t know which way to turn.
“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 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 30:20-21 (NIV)
Pretty much anytime, it’d be nice to know which way to turn.
Some days I find my navigational skills are lacking. So I watch for the teachers who know more than I do. And I listen for that voice behind me.
Sunday the sermon was on Elijah and how he was having a bad day during some difficulties with Jezebel. I noticed this verse again from 1 Kings 19: “The Lord said to him, ‘Go back the way you came…’”
I have wondered before if that direction was just a bit of instruction for Elijah that day, or if, within that text, there is an idea that has broader application.
This is something I do over and over on my morning walks. I go down one direction for a while, then I go back the way I came and end up right back where I started. Even so, I am changed for the experience, at least a little bit. For one thing, I’m 45 minutes older, yet I have more energy and often more motivation than when I began.
There’s another application too to this idea of going back the way you came. God set “eternity in the human heart,” Ecclesiastes says. There is within a need to repent, return, restore… a call to turn around and go back, come home, be whole.
It was always this way. Our need for reassurance is no different now than when Moses told Joshua, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
Be not afraid, y’all.