Aligning my Car with a Lamp Post
I returned home after a great morning at church. As I approached the cul de sac at the end of our road, I put on my car’s right signal. Next I put on its left signal as I prepared to park Mitsy. I looked to my right. When Mitsy approached the lamp post on our front yard – I slowed down. Was she aligned correctly? She was. I stopped the car. Got down and checked if she was close enough to the edge of the road. She wasn’t.
I got back in and reversed. Then moved to the left and parked again, checking the lamp post once again. If I parked too close to our driveway, my husband would find it hard to get his car out on the road. If I parked too close to my neighbour’s driveway, my neighbour would face the same problem. Finally I got it right. Yes, Mitsy was aligned neatly with the lamp post. That lamp post is an excellent guide as to where I should park.
I realised then that aligning my car with the lamp post is a bit like aligning myself with God and His ways. Not always easy to do. But life flows so beautifully when I do. Take that very day. I’d been pondering over a tough situation in my life for awhile. I’d prayed about it. I’d taken action. It all helped. But not enough. The problem was stealing some of my joy.
So I decided I’d had enough. I told myself that I needed to move on. Finding a solution hadn’t occurred. Perhaps what I needed to do then was simply to accept that this was the way things were? To ask God to fill in the gaps that needed filling? But you know what? I was wrong. The answer was not in acceptance. It was instead in finding a solution by aligning myself with God and His ways.
How did I do that? It happened by accident. A happy accident. I got up ½ an hour earlier that Sunday. It gave me more time with Him and it made all the difference. During my Quiet time, the Word and God spoke clearly into my situation. It brought me to a point of examining myself. Of asking God to take over. Of opening my ears and heart so I’d hear Him. I asked God to speak to me at church. I went along hoping He would. And yes, didn’t He just do that! Didn’t He!
The sermon that day was exactly what I needed to hear. Every word. I lapped it all up eagerly. Soon, I was revived - a wilted little bird that had dived into a bird bath – friskily enjoying refreshing cool water. Happy as Larry. I heard God that day as I hadn’t heard Him for weeks. Through His Word and through a wonderful sermon, I heard His solution for my specific problem. I believe I heard Him because before I left for church I’d aligned myself to hearing from Him. It was as simple as that!
The preacher spoke of taking a risk. I needed to take one. He mentioned 5 P’s. Patience. Prayer. Planning. Preparation. Persistence. I added three more from the very same passage in Nehemiah. Penitence. Praise. Presence. The Presence of God! I was Pleased. (Yes one more P!) I was elated! God had spoken. He had strengthened me. After the service, as I chatted to a friend – through her encouraging words I heard God’s final wrap-up of His solution to my problem. Wow! I was amazed!
How then do I can align myself to God and His ways? Here’s what I think:
Understand that He alone is the Source of all things. He provides all solutions – through His Word, through His wisdom, through people, through circumstances.
Remember God’s work in my past. It’s easy to forget. But – God’s work in the past encourages me greatly in my present. I know He will work again.
Realise the amazing Power that’s available to all believers. It’s the very same power that made Jesus rise from the dead. How awesome is that!
Be ready to take risks; be willing to make sacrifices. Risks are a risky business aren't they? But often called for. Sacrifices are not easy to make, are they? But often needed when I want to live God’s way.
Spend quality time with God. It’s not just time with Him – but time really spent hearing from Him. Know what I mean?
Open my mind so I can hear from Him. Is my mind cluttered? Is it ready to hear His truth? Is it open to Him?
Make my heart soft and ready to listen. Is my heart free from self and pride?
Read the Word. Study it. Listen to what He says.
Listen to Others. They have much to teach me. I need the wisdom of others too.
Be willing to obey God. Obedience is the key! Always.
I’ve discovered that aligning myself to Him and His ways through His Presence is the means of appropriating His Peace and His Power whenever I need it.
But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7, 8