I sat down to work on my latest composition. Prayer, being a usual thing when I write songs, I lit a candle and asked God for the right words to complete my work. Sometimes silence is best, other times chaos is just fine. In this particular moment, my eyes were closed, my heart was open and my listening skills were tuned to a perfect pitch. It was so quiet I could hear the sound of my heart as it beat in my chest. It was the kind of silence not easy to achieve living on a busy road with kids, pets and a husband. In this moment though, I was pretty much checked out. I had a great rhythm going; listen, write, repeat, listen, write, repeat.
I was shocked out of my bliss with the sound of loud banging on the back door of our home. I'd never had anyone knock at the back door before. Even though I was frightened by the approach, I was not about to be rude.
Peaking through the shades, I saw a tall man with dark hair and a mustache. He was wearing a name tag on his trench coat and carrying pamphlets. I figured he was probably a man of faith. I should have been more careful, being home alone, but felt compelled to answer the door.
Our meeting began as religious doorway meetings usually do, with an invitation to take the literature and a request to come inside and talk about God. Even though God is one of my favorite subjects, having strange men in my house when I'm there alone breaks every rule of safety and intelligence.
I told the man it wasn't a good time for a visit and that I appreciated his time and effort. I thanked him for stopping by and let him know I was very happy with my faith and my church. His questioning persisted; Yes, but did you know this? Did you know that?
After stating my position for the third time, I suggested he visit the house down the road. I told him I knew they had been struggling and didn't have a church community to lean on.
Perhaps frustrated by my unwillingness to be convinced, he looked sharply into my eyes and in a different, more commanding kind of voice he said, "Ma'am, many are called, few are chosen."
The hair stood up on the back of my neck a little bit as he spoke again, even more intently this time, "Ma'am, many are called, few are chosen and many more are being misled!"
My stomach dropped a little, as though I'd gone over a hill too fast, I could feel my face get flushed and my heart sink. In spite of my physical reaction, I managed the strength to speak and fire back.
"Sir, I don't know all there is to know about anything... but I do know enough about God to know this conversation is NOT about Him. I am asking you, in the name of Jesus Christ to leave now."
The man said not another word. He immediately turned around and walked away.
I went back in the house, my heart was racing as fast as my mind. One after the other thoughts flew through my brain?
What the heck was that?
What an awful interruption!
I was in such a good place, accomplishing something beautiful for God and that man ruined it!
I even wondered, Did the devil just visit my house?
Then, in a moment of grace, my thoughts began to change. I wondered if what the man had said actually applied to me.
Am I chosen?
Am I called?
Am I being misled?
I dropped to my knees and asked God to be with me.
Teach me what you need me to know, I prayed.
In a flash I knew for certain that whether or not I am called or chosen is God's business, not mine. Of greater concern to me was, am I being misled? That question scared me more than anything. How would I know?
Dear God, please, tell me what I need to know? If I am being misled by something or someone let me know who or what it is and I will do something about it.
My fears began to mount and in the midst of spiritual chaos God spoke to my heart;
"I will never mislead you, but man will."
Peace came over me. It was a wonderful revelation that made perfect sense; God will never mislead me... but man will. I felt all human nature fall away in that moment, even my own. When you get right down to it and there is only God, there is no possibility of being misled. There is only truth. I like it there.
The guy who came to my door that day was not the devil; he was just man, a human being with human ideas, goals, thoughts and perceptions. The lesson for me in that day was as important as the interruption. God is the ultimate truth. Because we are human and we interact with humans every day, we must be on the lookout, always, for where we might be being misled.
So... let's pay attention, check ourselves, our relationships, involvements, and circumstances often. An interruption might turn out to be a revelation and a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.
18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. (NLT)
From Fear to Freedom
I remember the darkness, the smell of dirt, and the fear that no one would find me.
“It’ll be great, he said. No one will ever find you here.”
I had fallen for my older brother’s bad ideas before. When he suggested I hide in a posthole during a game of hide and seek, I should have known it wouldn’t end well.
I was just a kid, small enough to fit in, feet first, with my arms down at my sides. The damp, cold dirt was so close to my face I could see nothing. Like the proverbial stone rolled in front of the tomb, a clump of grass sealed my fate. My brother was right; nobody found me. He told the others I had quit for the night and they all went inside.
I called for help but no one could hear me. I screamed but could tell there was no point. Trapped, alone and afraid, I waited. Perhaps someone noticed I was missing or my brother thought I’d had enough when he finally came to set me free.
I’m pretty much a grown up now. I’m proud to say, I never got in a posthole again. When situations arise that make me feel a similar kind of stuck, I pray. When I feel like I’m screaming and no one can hear me, when my hands are tied and there is nothing I can do to help myself, I look to God. I know with Him I am never lost or alone. He is with me in every kind of trouble.
God will never leave us in darkness and He will always set us free.
The exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, nor will his bread be lacking.
Isaiah 51:14 (NASB)