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Posts Tagged ‘God’s voice’

Jo 12Each day, there seem to be so many opinions and pieces of information aired on the internet and on TV about surviving and thriving during this isolation period. Some of these contain advice on how to behave and care for ourselves and others, which may or may not be helpful. Some aim to encourage us to think and act in positive ways. Some make us laugh and are full of dry humour. But some also seem to do nothing except induce fear and panic and even more uncertainty. Should I really download that Covid 19 tracking app? Should all these children really head back to school at this stage? Should I really make that trip to the shops or go wherever right now? Should I really plan that event for later in the year?

Whoa! All this can do our heads in, can’t it? And this is where I have found it helpful to step back, so to speak, take a deep breath, and ask myself a different set of questions.

Whose voice am I listening to?

What effect does that voice have on me?

What thoughts am I allowing to take hold of my mind and guide my actions at this time?

Recently, I read the tiny New Testament letter written by Jude, who it is thought was one of Jesus’ brothers. Towards the end, he encourages the early believers to persevere and writes:

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 20-21

Yes, I thought to myself—this is what I need to do! I need to pray and allow the Spirit to speak God’s true and encouraging words into my heart. I need to allow God to build up my faith and to remember all God has taught and shown and done for me in the past. But above all, I need to place myself right in the centre of God’s love afresh each day and be at peace, knowing God will watch over me forever.

And that is why I risk adding yet another blog each week to all those words already out there in cyberspace right now. I want to encourage others to listen to God’s loving voice rather than that voice that would cause us to fear or lose hope. Whoever we are, we all need to know that God is for us, that we truly matter to God, that God longs to provide for us and speak peace into our hearts at this time. At least, I know I do!

And what a wonderful, uplifting, final flourish Jude adds to the end of his letter to those early believers that surely still speaks to us today and encourages us to remember who we belong to and who is in charge:

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25

Now what better final word could there be than that?

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Jo 23One recent Saturday night, I set out to drive our daughter to her home in an entirely different part of Sydney. As usual, I headed for James Ruse Drive, then onto the M4 freeway. As usual too, my daughter and I were talking about all sorts of things, while I endeavoured to keep my eyes on the traffic around me. We were almost at the end of the freeway when, to my horror, I suddenly realised the road we were on looked very different from usual. Somehow I had ended up in the newly completed tunnel that speedily propels drivers towards the city rather than on Parramatta Road near my usual turnoff!

What could we do? Absolutely nothing—except keep driving until we could actually exit onto Parramatta Road, albeit at a spot way past where I wanted to be. But then I had another dilemma. Should I now try to drive our daughter home a different way through unfamiliar suburbs late on a dark night? Or should I backtrack along Parramatta Road and stick to my well-known route?

In the end, I chose the latter. But it was indeed a loooong journey that night.

When I arrived home, my helpful husband asserted that, although he had never been in the new tunnel, there must be signs everywhere that could not be missed. So we decided to take a drive in the daytime to ensure we knew which lane one needed to stick to in order to exit before that shiny, new tunnel swallowed us up again.

Perhaps you can guess what happened. There was my husband, driving along looking at all the road signs, when … poof … suddenly he too found himself careering into the tunnel rather than straight onto Parramatta Road! At least he enjoyed checking it all out. But again, how easy it had been, despite all those signs, to glide along with the other traffic on that wide freeway towards the tunnel!

Later, I thought about what these two interesting experiences where we so easily took the wrong road might teach me for my life in general. It can be so easy to go along with what others say or how others live who do not know or care about God, can’t it? It can be so easy to be seduced by all those ads urging us to do or buy this and that rather than think about what God might want. It can be so easy to drift into watching shows or playing computer games or reading books that do not honour God. But, as Jesus himself taught, this wide, easy road that many others might choose to take does not lead to real life.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

I’m so thankful I veered off onto God’s narrow road many years ago now, rather than powering on along that obvious, wide, easy freeway, heedless to God’s voice. My road might twist and turn, but I know where I’m heading. And I have the perfect Navigator beside me forever who will never lead me astray.

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