When I stepped out onto the front porch this morning in order to water the Trailing Vinca that we have hanging from the edge of the porch cover, I noticed a white Harnett County truck idling at the side of the road a few houses down from ours. After a few moments the driver got back into the vehicle and proceeded to slowly drive through the neighborhood past our home. As I watched the truck I was instantly brought back to a memory of our family camping days when the white State Park Ranger’s truck would slowly motor through the campground in the early morning hours as the campers were beginning to stir for the new day.
The sight and sound of the truck coming through the campground was always a warm and comforting sight for me as far back into my childhood as I can remember. In the early days up until the first few years of Piper’s and my marriage, the trucks were painted a deep forest green and stood apart from any other vehicle in the camp. I remember being very disappointed when budget cuts finally forced the State Parks to save money by not having the trucks painted green and went to the nondescript white trucks!
Those same budget cuts eventually reduced the number of actual Rangers that you would see in the parks. The last time we went to our favorite campground in the northeastern Sierra’s back in 2005, I don’t remember if we ever saw a full-fledged Ranger and were told that one Ranger now covered all the parks between our camp and Tahoe about an hour and a half away!
I have fond memories of Piper and I spending time with lead Ranger Paul at Plumas Eureka State Park the first few times we went there beginning in 1976. Back then they actually had the time to talk and get to know the park’s visitors a little bit! When Piper and I returned to the park for our 30th anniversary camping vacation, we were pleased to see that they had erected a memorial bench in honor of Ranger Paul who had spent some thirty years in service and was semi-retired when we met him.
The sound and sight of that white county truck this morning served as a caveat that sent me back to other fond memories that I have due to the sounds and sights around me that have had special impact on my life. Proverbs 3:6 in the Message Bible tells us to: “Listen for GOD's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.” Other translations say to “acknowledge him” (God’s Word ©) or to “make her (Godly wisdom) known” (Apostolic Bible Polyglot). And while they may sound different they are all actually relating to the same activity.
According to Thayer’s, the phrase used in the Apostolic Bible Polyglot, which is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, which encourages us to “make her known” is a derivative of the related word ‘ginosko’ which, once again, speaks of a very intimate and closely personal “knowing” of God and His Word.
While I took some time to think over all this during my Bible Study today, I wrote down the comment that “This means that you’ve got to take the time and effort to ‘hear’ what God is saying – To take whatever time and effort is necessary to fully understand the message that Papa God is trying to relate to you.” Then I looked up the definition of “listen” in the Oxford Dictionary and discovered that it says the same thing! It also said that “to listen” means “to give one’s attention to a sound and/or to take notice of and act on what someone says.”
One of the things that has frustrated me the most over the years is when Piper and I have set aside and taken whatever the time necessary to actively seek the Lord in prayer and through His Word in order to confirm a direction we believe He spoke to us and then have someone we begin to share our good news with take two seconds to completely blow away our diligent and hard work with negative comments and reasoning without ever waiting to hear the complete story... or even get the correct facts behind whatever argument they are setting forth.
But like I stated in our last post, after you really take the time and effort to ‘listen to' and ‘hear’ what the Lord is saying to you, the other people’s discouraging responses will not move you EXCEPT to strengthen your faith and resolve to move forward with God’s plan. Just remember though, that the key to success is to really HEAR what the Lord is saying! This step takes commitment and the kind of attitude that says: “I’m not going anywhere until I KNOW that I KNOW what Papa God has told me to do… ‘and the gates of hell shall not prevail against me!’” (Matthew 16:18 KJV - personalized)
So… how well do you listen for God’s voice?
Have a wonderful weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “How well am I expecting to hear the voice of the Lord today?”