Friday, May 20, 2016
Go, come, flee
Many years ago, I was walking on a sidewalk with a friend and our young children, heading toward a playground a few blocks away. I was in unfamiliar territory, visiting a city that I did not know. I was a bit nervous as the children began to run down the sidewalk ahead of us. An intersection was ahead. As they approached the corner, my friend suddenly whistled loudly, one of those shrieking whistles that you would hear at a sporting event, a shattering sound unexpectedly coming from this tiny woman.
Her son, who was probably five years old at the time, stopped on a dime. A complete full stop. No questions asked. And waited for his mom. I will never forget the immediacy of his obedience. Very impressive, but that which also possessed the potential of being at some time the difference between life and death.
And when he obeyed immediately, it impacted and protected others, because everyone around him stopped too.
None of us have any idea the proverbial truck or bus hurtling toward us. But we can read God's Word, listen for God's voice, and obey on a dime. No questions necessary. If God's Word says no, if He guides me on an unexpected path or blocks my way, there is not just a reason for it, but God has purpose in it, an infinite number of designs I cannot fathom.
Sometimes He says "go," sometimes "come," and sometimes "run for your life." No time for explanation, no space for delay, but just "trust Me."
The reason may someday be evident, but sometime there are deep dimensions we will not know until the other side of life. But this I can know and stake my life on: "For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever." Psalm 117. 2. In all things, over all things, even in mystery.
Yesterday I watched as two of our young grandchildren ran, slid and explored a playground. They were having so much fun. I heard a scratching sound on the plastic roof over one section of the playground equipment. When the sound caught my attention a second time, I looked up to see what it was. There was a large bat caught in one of the ventilation holes, desperately struggling to get loose. I don't know about you, but the mere sight of a bat is enough to send me running, let alone one that is flailing.
I grabbed my little grand daughter into my arms and called out to her very active brother who was playing like only a three year old can. "I need you to come right away," I called out to him. He had no idea what was happening. He was in his element on this play equipment. What would possess me to stop his play? Why would I want him to stop having fun?
But he came. I led him away from the play area. And then, away from the risk, I was able to tell him why, even though he still could not see it. He just had to trust me.
O LORD, You want me to do what?
And what if I knew that I was on a path of danger? Or someone else around me?
It is not that there might be things I do not see, but there always are.
Obedience is never arbitrary.
And all these blessings
shall come upon you
and overtake you,
if you obey
the voice of the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 28. 2