A note from Kelly King: For many of you, summer means slowing down your normal pace. For others, summer is a time you can get off course by falling out of the habit of spending time in God’s Word. Make a commitment today to make this summer a time to grow closer in your relationship with the Lord. I think Courtney Veasey’s article will encourage you today.
Children often want to do things their own way at their own speed. On a few occasions I’ve observed the hilarity of adults doing their best to corral high-energy, free-spirited kids and keep them from detouring off course. A more memorable time was a few years back while on vacation at the beach. One of the mornings I had woken up at an unusually early hour for me. Normally when this happens it means that God wants a consultation. Being just before daybreak, I left my companions asleep in the condo and made my way down to the beach to watch the sunrise and pray. A few minutes into my conversation with God, I heard some commotion behind me and turned around to see what looked to be a grandmother coming up holding one grandbaby in her arms and calling after another slightly older one who had gone rogue in a bird chase. In the best New Jersey-sounding accent, the woman yelled, “Nathan! Nathan! Get back here and walk with me. We’re going to the ocean and you’re off chasing birds!” His little legs kicked up sand as he ran back to where she was, but shortly thereafter he got distracted with shiny beach debris causing him to then lag behind her. I heard this grandmother repeatedly say to her grandson, “Walk with me, Nathan, walk with me…” As I watched on, I laughed and nodded, knowing that God was allowing me to see a picture of how my walk with Him was going at the time. I heard Him say to my spirit, “Look familiar?”
We have all been this kind of child with God, one minute running ahead to chase our own kind of birds, and the next lagging behind caught up in distraction. But graciously, our persistent Father continually calls us back to His side—to His pace for our lives.
No matter how long or intimately we have journeyed with Jesus or how well-managed our lives and ministry calendars have been in the past, there are times when we need to pause and listen as the gentle voice of the Shepherd says to us, “Walk with Me, walk with Me…” God has a pace that He means for His children to keep, and that is in step with Him.
Consider how He led the Israelites as they traveled beyond the boundaries of Egypt. In Exodus 13:21 we learn, “The LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so that they could travel day or night.” Later, using an illustration of shepherding to explain Himself as being the door through whom His sheep enter, Jesus said in John 10:4, “When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
We are not always out of step with God. But if today you recognize that you or your current way of leading might be, stop and listen for His voice, look to find where the cloud of His presence has settled, for the direction in which His pillar of fire is headed. Being assured of the promise that He faithfully will, ask God today to help you trace His steps and find your way back to His side, to His intended pace for you.
Courtney Veasey is a PhD candidate in biblical interpretation at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is the former Director of Women’s Academic Programs and faculty member also of NOBTS. Courtney has also held church staff positions in South Carolina at First Baptist Spartanburg, and Florida at First Baptist Church of Middleburg, and in previous years also served with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Courtney is a frequent speaker for women and teenage girls and has contributed numerous articles, devotionals, and book chapters for such publications as Essential Connections and Parenting Teens magazines and most recently Broadman and Holman’s Daily Devotional for Women and The Psalms and Proverbs Devotional for Women. While continuing her itinerant ministry, Courtney currently resides in her home state of Florida where she enjoys being near family, spending time on the water, and cheering for her beloved Florida State Seminoles.