Grace Speaks…

Asking, “May I Guide You? …”

     I have a terrible sense of direction!

     Once while staying at a motel, my husband said as we left our room, “I watch which way you turn and know to go the opposite direction!”

     I’m sure you can imagine, GPS (Global Positioning System) is a very good friend of mine!

     In my spiritual journey, scripture is my GPS—God’s Positioning System.

     One of the times I rely on scripture is during nighttime hours when sleep eludes me. As I meditate on a verse or passage from the Bible, I am often led back into slumber. One of my favorite sleepless-night meditations is Psalms 23. My favorite Bible version for this beloved psalm remains the King James, which I memorized in Sunday school as a little girl.

     Not so very long ago, during one of ‘those’ nights, a single line felt particularly personal—a place God invited me to pause and ponder:

…he leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalms 23:3b)

     Losing my way while driving or walking because I’m directionally challenged has created some stress-filled moments. I admit some of my problems may have been minimized if I had only taken time beforehand to more carefully think about and study the correct route—or, even turn on the GPS!

     Losing my way spiritually has also created stress. I know beyond any doubt, some of my problems in life can be averted if I more wisely consider before moving ahead, determined to go ‘my way’ rather than ‘God’s way.’

     One brief line from Psalms 23 assures me, however, that despite my inability, ignorance, or willfulness, The Good Shepherd cares so greatly about my journey that he will continue to lead me onto right paths. I am his child, and for his name’s sake, God cares about the direction I take, even as I care about the direction one of my children or grandchildren takes.

     I may lose my way, but the Good Shepherd won’t give up on me. He may allow me to take more detours than necessary, or even take multiple laps around the desert, but “for his name’s sake,” when I seek and desire his will and way, I will be guided back in the right direction.

     I have no idea where most Listening on the Journey… readers are in their faith journey. I don’t need to know because as I conclude these words, I believe with my entire soul that

     God knows you;

          God cares about the path you’re on;

               God cherishes you;

                    God’s ways are good;

                         God desires to lead you in “paths of righteousness.”

Blessings on your journey…

Sue Reeve

Grace Speaks…

Probing, “Does this really matter?”

     My husband and I were on the brink of an argument the other day. He’d heard a request I’d made one way, and I was convinced I’d communicated it another way—which, naturally, in my opinion, was the RIGHT way! (You can imagine a smiley-face emoji inserted here!)

     Just as I was preparing my defense against Ron’s perception, I heard it—the voice of grace, asking, “Really, Sue, in light of eternity, does it matter?” I knew the correct answer. No, of course it doesn’t! I’m grateful I listened and was able to capture and set aside argumentative words that day. Otherwise, resentful feelings that could have easily become harsh, hurtful and long-lasting may have been the outcome. I know that from experience!

     I’m not sure when I started listening to the voice of grace ask me the ‘in-light-of-eternity’ question, or more importantly, when I realized that in light of eternity, most potential gripes and grievances truly do not matter.

     I’m one of those people who has a passionate opinion about almost everything! I possess a very strong sense of fairness and justice. And, on top of that, somewhere during childhood, I determined it was vitally important to be RIGHT.

     Here’s what grace has taught me.

          It’s all right to be passionate and have opinions, but wisdom will help me manage my
          passions and opinions, choosing with whom and when I share them.

          Fairness and justice are important, but I can decide which battles are worth fighting,
          and if I feel the need to fight a battle, I can prayerfully decide on a strategic plan for
          maximum effectiveness.

          Finally, grace has taught me I don’t NEED to be RIGHT!

     Grace not only challenges me to consider what doesn’t matter in light of eternity. Grace also reminds me that much does matter:

     a kind gesture; a helping hand; an encouraging word; generosity;

          forgiveness; gratitude; willingness to listen; temperate correction;

               gentle truth; inconvenient or undeserved acts of kindness;

                    persistence; non-malicious laughter; validation;

                         and always, always unselfish love.

I want to learn to listen more carefully, obey more readily and turn my behavior around more quickly when the voice of Grace asks, “In light of eternity does this really matter?”

     How about you?

Grace to you…

Sue Reeve

Grace Speaks… Whispering, “I know it’s hard…”

     A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended a 100th Anniversary service at the church where we met over 40 years ago.

     When I decided to attend this church way back when, my reasoning was admittedly unhealthy. Someone told me it was a “big” and “unfriendly” church. Sounded good to me at the time.

     My heart was battered and broken when I walked through the doors that first Sunday. I wanted to disappear. In those days, I thought more about ending my life than fitting in or making friends.

     The tall, lanky, gray-haired, bespectacled pastor’s sermons seemed always to land on the same theme: Grace. Week upon week truth seeped from the mouth of a venerable man of God who grasped the power of grace into this younger woman’s shattered soul.

     When Ron and I re-visited our former place of worship, I felt no desire to disappear. My heart is in a much better place today.

     Instead, I admired the updated auditorium. I enjoyed the sermon. The current pastor, probably about the same age as my daughter, preached with challenge and conviction.

     In reality, that congregation had been filled with a lot of nice, friendly folk. Many still attend, and it was a true joy to receive warm hugs and rekindle some dear acquaintances.

     Waves of memories swept over me during our visit. I recalled the location where I was sitting one Sunday morning when the whisper of grace assured me God loved me deeply, and I was going to make it through my season of dark despair.

     If your heart is in a dark place right now, my prayer for you is that you too will hear the whisper of Grace assuring, “I know it’s hard. I’m here to help.”

May your days be filled with much grace…

Sue Reeve