July 18, 2022
Missed Exits: Turning Up the Voice of God
SHALA W. GRAHAM
Lee en español
"And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'" Isaiah 30:21 (NRSV)
Last summer, a colleague picked me up from the airport to take me to a conference. We had a long stretch of highway to drive, with Google Maps ready to lead the way to the conference location.
We laughed and talked as we rolled down the road ... Then something didn't look quite right.
"We missed the exit!"
No problem. I'd missed exits before, even with Google Maps giving me a play-by-play. But here's the thing - my colleague had issues connecting her phone to the audio in the car, so we couldn't hear the lovely voice that gives the directions well in advance. Google Maps was silent! And because we were in a more rural area, the next exit to turn around and get back on track was several miles down the road.
Thankfully, we weren't in any rush, so the detour was just a minor inconvenience. But how often do we miss the exit or the on-ramp because we either can't hear the directions or we simply aren't paying attention?
This is what happens when we don't hear the voice of God directing us or we've turned down the volume to prioritize another voice in our lives.
In Isaiah 30, we see the people of Judah being warned not to rebel against the Lord by depending on Egypt to help them instead of relying on God. Isaiah also spoke a prophetic blessing over them if they would just return to God for help:
"Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'" (Isaiah 30:19-21, NRSV).
What a blessing it is to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts if we trust in Jesus today! Like our personal GPS, He says, "This is the way; walk in it." But we have to tune in. We have to make sure we are connected to the Spirit of God. We have to intentionally seek out His voice and presence.
One of my favorite ways to seek God is through worship. So many of my favorite worship songs are simply scriptures set to a tune. As I proclaim biblical Truth in those songs, it becomes my prayer, and the Holy Spirit stirs in me to communicate with God and receive what God is saying. In those moments, as I submit my will to His, I can hear God affirm in my spirit what is needed of me. It's like an internal check in my heart that feels so crystal clear.
It's like when you look into the eyes of a friend, and though no words emerge from her mouth, you simply know everything she is communicating. You feel her words, and you stand in that truth with her.
As I worship, the peace of God rests over my spirit and guides me to confess, not worry about, the mistakes and wrong turns that plague me, even if I know I've “missed an exit” by trying to follow my own route for my life. There is grace for course correcting.
Father, help us cancel out the noise of this world and the enemy. Forgive us for being distracted or neglecting to plug in to hear Your voice. We don't want to keep missing the exit. We want to get to where You want to take us. We're tuned in. We're listening. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
John 10:27, "My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me." (NRSV)
Do you feel you've missed some exits or on-ramps in life because you didn't discern God's voice? What can you do to diminish the distractions and amplify His voice so that you can stay on track?
We'd love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2022 by Shala W. Graham. All rights reserved.