I am directionally challenged.
Those who know me best would agree, and have often been entertained by stories of my ineptitude.
Like the time I left the Toronto Zoo and drove over ½ an hour in the wrong direction, simply because all of the cars in front of me had turned right at the first major intersection, and I figured that must be the way to the highway.
Note to self – Just because everyone else is headed down a certain path, does not mean that it’s the right way to go!
I share all this to help you understand my worries about getting lost in the forest when I was at 3 Crosses a couple of weeks ago for the listening retreat…
One of the men in our group had been to the retreat centre before. Some of the other guys were teasing him about how he had gotten lost in the forest the last time he had been there.
That’s all I needed to hear. I started worrying. I was sure I would get lost – that I would mess up the whole experience.
I shared my worries with the leadership, and they assured me the path was clearly marked and that I should have no trouble.
“Should have no trouble,” I thought skeptically. I was convinced that I would prove otherwise.
When the time came for the prayer and listening walk to begin, Pastor Jeff prayed with me – that God would quiet the distractions and help me to focus solely on Him. He thanked God for his plans for my life, which included bringing me to meet with Him in the midst of His beautiful creation.
After Jeff prayed, I was left sitting alone on the rough-hewn bench, listening to an MP3 recording which began with a story of a Jewish rabbi. This man was seen walking a mountain path in Jerusalem – quietly and serenely – while the world rushed around him to ‘experience’ nearby holy places. When he was later observed, journeying slowly back down the mountain, there was a wisdom and a peace about him, as one who had been with the Lord. A reminder of the truth found in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”
There was an opportunity to journal before leaving the bench and beginning the prayer walk. I wrote out my prayer to my loving, heavenly Father…
I thank you for today. For this place. For the beautiful sunshine, Lord. Thank you for reminding me that YOU chose for me to be here. It was not my choice or my decision. Thank you. I pray that you would protect me from preconceived agendas of any kind, Lord.
I sensed Him answer…
My ways are far above your ways. My best for you far exceeds your wildest imaginings. Breathe, my child. Just breathe. Don’t worry. Let go of all your cares, your striving. There is no wrong way for you to experience me here if you just listen. Rest in me. Trust me. I have your very best at heart. I will guide your path and protect you. You are my precious child. I love you beyond measure.
Thank you, Lord. For your words of love. For your grace and protection. For understanding the words I needed to hear. I pray you would continue to open my ears to hear your voice speaking to me.
As I began to walk along the narrow forest path, my attention was drawn to the patches of light from the sun that filtered through the canopy of trees. There was a vitality about this light. It danced with the swaying of the branches above. I sensed the Lord speaking to my heart and reminding me that He is the light of this world – that He shines His light, His love, into the darkness – into our world, a place desperate for hope. He lights the path for my steps through the gentle guidance of His voice, and through the wisdom given in His word.
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 (NIV)
I thanked Him for blessing me with this revelation of His presence – for reminding me that He is the light of the world, and that because He is with me, I do not need to fear. A truth I knew, yet in that moment I sensed it more deeply. His presence with me was real, almost tangible. I felt safe and my worries about getting lost, or somehow messing up the experience were gone. He took my fears, and gave me a deep sense of His presence and His wondrous peace.
Within fifteen minutes of starting the three-hour listening experience, I was already broken and crying. So thankful for His words of love lavished on me, one so undeserving.
As I kept thanking Him for His grace and love, I sensed Him whisper…
You are most welcome, my precious child. I am thrilled to have this time alone with you in my beautiful creation – no distractions, just us – together. My heart is blessed by this gift of your time, your devotion, your heart for me.
Sweet Friends, I am fully convinced that these words were spoken to my heart by my loving, heavenly Father. I know that the evil one would not speak such words, and in all honesty, I would not be so kind to myself.
I know that when I was first introduced to the idea of communing with God in such an interactive way, I was extremely resistant. I did not want to become involved in anything mystical that was not of God. My Pastor has spent countless hours pointing me to Scriptures and answering my questions. I hope to write more on this topic in the near future. It has become a passion of mine.
Are you listening?
May God richly bless you with His words of love,