As we leave school every day, the girls often race ahead of me, chatting to each other about their day. But when they get to the top of the hill, they pause, for there the road splits, and they don’t know where I have parked the car. I call out from behind them, “to the left” and they turn, resume chatting, and find their way to the car.
It is a mundane everyday event, independent as they are, they are unable to find the car without a little direction. My voice behind them guiding them.
Some days my girls don’t hear me ’cause they are deep in conversation and head down the wrong road for a while before they realise their error, or finally hear my voice.
I often think of this image when I consider the next prayer of my heart which comes from Isaiah.
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 love this verse for the comfort it gives, and I focus on the image of a loving God who will call out from behind, “to the left” so I can adjust my steps and head in the right direction.
However, I find it interesting that this verse doesn’t paint the picture of God striding ahead leading the way so that we know exactly where to follow. Instead he allows us to find our own way.
For there is an element of human participation required here. I need to listen out for the voice behind me, in order to hear it. I need to make sure I am not too absorbed in the things of my day that I don’t hear his voice.
And like my girls there will be times that I go too far down the wrong path before I realise, double back, or adjust my course.
This verse has become both a prayer and a promise for me. I pray that I will be attentive to his voice, listening out for it despite the other voices crowding in. And he promises that he will guide me, calling out to let me know the right path to walk.
So I pray that you too may hear his voice, despite the clamour of your day. I pray that at the top of the hill you can pause, and whether you turn to the left or to the right, you will hear his voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”