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
What an encouraging word ! Listen and you will hear. Could it really be that simple? God, directly influencing our way whether we turn to the right or to the left. It reminds me of the words to an old hymn, ‘for those who live a life of prayer God is present everywhere.’ Could it be? There are no wrong turns? No forks in the road? God already knows the decisions we will make and has anticipated being there with us, every step of the way. If we pray, we will always hear His assurances ‘This is the way, walk in it.’
How often do we carry in our minds the image of a fork in the road? We assume that one way is necessarily God’s will and that the other is not. Though it is a worthwhile excercise to be asking for clarity in making choices it is not appropriate for us to fear being out of God’s will if we are people of prayer. If we are constantly open to being redirected, His voice will always be behind us. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will direct your paths.
In the story of the prodigal son we hear the words of the father to the elder brother, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Regardless of his succumbing to the temptation of jealousy over his celebrated younger brother, this is the brother who always stayed closed to the Father, who ‘never disobeyed his orders.’ The Father assures us, even when we are in the midst of temptation, ‘my son, my daughter, you are always with me.’
Jesus knew the assurance of the Father’s constant presence when He said in John 8, “the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” For those who live a life of prayer God is present everywhere.
Simon Tugwell, in his book, Prayer: Living with God, speaks of this same union of intention and relationship.
- “As charity [love] becomes more operative in our heart, our spontaneity is transformed at the root so that all our thinking and feeling and wanting is anchored in God’s will.”
And in His own paraphrasing of this Isaiah passage Jesus offers the same assurance to his disciples and to us, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Whether you turn to the right or to the left, I am with you always, whether you are in temptation or not, I am always with you, whether you believe it or not, I am always with you.
There is a voice that it always with us, behind us, beside us, assuring us, guiding us, anticipating us, never leaving us. Whatever road we find ourselves on we can be assured that God is leading us. Any day, any minute of the day, and many times in the coming year, you can expect to hear the Lord remind you that all is well. You are not lost. This is the way, walk in it. May we be people who listen closely for that continual assurance.
Rob Des Cotes
Imago Dei Christian Communities
For Group Discussion :
1. How have you experienced the assurance of God’s continual presence with you? When have you felt the fear of being on the wrong path?
2. What is your reaction to Tugwell’s statement about the effect of God’s love on our hearts and desires?
3. Are you in a place of being willing to be redirected by God?