This weeks post is from a guest contributor, LakeView Church’s Worship Director, Stephanie.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3,4, NIV)
Recently, my grandfather was admitted to the hospital twice in a one a week period of time…(don’t worry, he is doing just fine now-but thanks for asking!) During these hospital trips I found myself headed to St. Mary’s in downtown Madison. I parked in a certain spot in the ramp, on a certain level so that I could easily take the walkway into the hospital and then take the correct elevators to the wing that my grandfather was admitted to. I had a routine. I liked my routine.
You see, I am not so very good at directions. When someone tells me to “go North on 51 and then head Northwest on 113”, I go into an internal panic and ask a questions like, “Does that mean I take a right when I come to the red building with the statue of the painted cow in the front yard?” It is honestly that tragic with me and directions. Thank God for Google Maps…(can I get an amen?) This is why I have a specific hospital parking protocol. To avoid panic.
But on this hospital trip with my grandpa, we were waiting, and waiting and WAITING for test results. During this time the hospital hours went from day to evening, and with that a new safety protocol was enforced. In other words, my routine was completely sabotaged! After 7pm, the door that led me directly to the hallway that would take me straight to my car was locked and a man with a badge stood to guard that exit. The panic started.
We had just found at that we could go home. It was time to grab our stuff and go pull up the car for Grandpa. I was carrying all of his belongings while clumsily pushing my work bag and his oxygen tank on top of his wheeling-walker. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my exit was locked. Uh oh. I was disoriented and had no idea which hallways led to the correct exits. I was all turned around because of my directional impairment and I found myself on the outside of the hospital, carrying all of this baggage, on the exact opposite side of the parking ramp….in the pouring rain. Fantastic.
As I began the long and wet re-route back to my car, my grandpa’s wheeling-walker hit an unfortunate bump in the side walk. All of my work belongings spilled out onto the ground. My heart raged. I bent low to collect my rain soaked items and the complaints began spilling out. “God, I’m just trying to help my grandpa. All I want to do is find my car and take him home. I can’t believe this happening! I am just trying to do the right thing and everything is going wrong for me…” The junk in my heart tumbled out before Him just like my work bag on the wet sidewalk. In that moment I felt the Holy Spirit tenderly speak. He spoke with kindness and love straight into the middle of my self pity and junk attitude. I heard clearly and peacefully these words:
“I am so glad you got re-routed, it’s the first time you’ve thought to talk to me today and I like talking with you.”
I began to cry, right there, in the rain. His kindness led me straight into repentance (Rom 2:4). As cliche as it sounds, I literally began singing in the rain. My raging heart did an immediate turn round because I was overcome with joy that I belong to a God who loves me AND likes to be with me even when I am disoriented, soaking wet and grumpy. Hallelujah! He loves me—the pressure is off. He likes me—it’s going to be okay. I turned my face up to the sky and enjoyed the rain fall, I welcomed the inconvenience, I embraced the longer route because He was there with me. Suddenly there was no place I would rather be.
His word tells us that He speaks to us, and that we know His voice (John 10: 3,4). I encourage you to find connection with Him now, in this moment, before routine kicks in or before the challenges of the day overwhelm…He is speaking to you with His kindness, love and acceptance.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today? I bet what you hear will be really great.