I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight Isaiah 45:2
BY: ASHLEY BLACKBURN
Today I was in the lake on a paddle board. As I stood up, it took me a minute to figure out my balance, then I began paddling. As I switched the oar from side to side to paddle straight away, I began to hear God speaking in my heart. Here is what I heard Him saying;
This board represents the ship I am guiding, which is the church, the body of Christ. You are a part of this body on your own journey, both individually and with the ship as a whole. All these things are on the same path whose destination is towards the lighthouse of my Divine Will, where you can safely harbor. They reflect one another in a mystical way because they also reflect me. On this journey I require your cooperation. When you listen to me and to what your soul needs, I direct the movement. Likewise for the church as a whole, the Spirit guides the movement. When you paddle on the right side you are directed forward and slightly to left. When you paddle on the left side you are directed forward and slightly to the right. You begin to realize that no rowing motion of your own moves you in a straight line. You are either going slightly left or slightly right, but still you move forward. This is because in your limited humanity, I realize what you need and work with you to make straight the path. Some days you need more mercy, paddling left more often to keep straight, while other times you may need to be reminded that I am also justice, paddling right more often to keep straight. Through it all it is a delicate dance of give and take, left and right, tough and easy, mercy and justice, your human will working in cooperation with the Divine. It is I that keeps you moving straight while you paddle to the left and right and when you truly seek me in your hearts, and as the Spirit guides, I keep you always moving forward toward the lighthouse, the ultimate destination.
All the while on this journey, the current is moving in its own direction. The current represents the culture. If you stop paddling, that is, you stop listening to me, the current will carry you away in an unknown direction that does not seek safe harbor. If you do not cooperate with me, you will eventually end up on the bank where trash and broken tree limbs entangle you and rocks can destroy. This is a life without prayer and sacraments. A life where you aren’t actively listening and seeking guidance from me. The current that seeks to steal, kill and destroy will swiftly lead you astray. It is why I ask for you to cooperate and listen to me, so you don’t get carried away by the culture. You must pay attention and stay awake because the current is always trying to carry you in an unknown direction and it never ceases in its efforts. Some days the current is rougher than others, but it’s never completely still. Always keep the current in mind when paddling along your journey, but never let it make you quit or carry you away.
Lastly, there will be times when the current is so strong that you will keep paddling to counteract its strength of carrying you in the wrong direction, but it doesn’t work, no matter how hard you try, the current is too much for you to take on. In these times you must make a drastic move to get yourself back on track. You must row backwards. And with a few swift rows, you are brought to an abrupt halt, and you are quickly turned back in the right direction. This is necessary from time to time; to stop abruptly or take a step back in order to redirect yourself. You must not be afraid to do this, to let go of control and trust in me. When you do not do this, the full force of the current comes at you, and the destruction it can wreak is like a hurricane, because you have ventured on on your own. Some who find themselves in this storm are tempted to jump from the ship in order to save themselves, but you must always remember, I will never let the ship sink because the ship belongs to me. Remain on it. If you jump off of the ship, surely you have removed yourself from me. If you keep your eyes on the Lighthouse, you can have peace, even if the ship seems out of control. Put your trust there in the Lighthouse of the Divine Will that is unchanging and doesn’t move because it is built on solid ground where the current cannot take it away. Trust always completely in me.
Jesus wants nothing more from us than our hearts to be turned toward Him. When we seek Him in all things we will find the road to our salvation
Triumphant Song of Confidence Of David.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh—my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation! If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up. Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence. I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!