Haydren sat in silence for several long moments. A wind from the east ruffled the grasses just turning green with spring; through the washing of stalks against one another, and almost borne on the breeze, came a whisper:
In the grove.
—By Ways Unseen, Chapter 9 – Whispers
“And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” I Kings 19:12b-13
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13
Some weeks ago, my devotional prompt asked me to consider how I had relied on God’s wisdom in the past. First, let’s recognize how good it is to remember how we have successfully relied on God before; while he is “doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19), He is also “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). And countless times throughout Scripture we are admonished to remember.
When I did this, though, an interesting thought recurred to me: the decisions that I thought about the least have been the most effective in bringing me to where I am today. At 14, I decided that, whatever else I decided to do with my life, I would join the Army as soon as I could. A lot of fear and desire for control was gotten out of me during those three years I served, and the G.I. Bill I earned allowed me to get my bachelor’s degree at a Christian college for a mere $7,000 of student loans. It also forced me to define my own faith, away from my parents, strengthening my understanding and belief in God.
As I neared my separation date from the Army, I decided to go to bicycle mechanics school, where I strengthened my love of mountain biking and trails. I started working at a bike shop, where I was invited to Four Mile church, where I met the man who would give me a job and encourage me to pursue a Master’s degree in Natural Resources, which strengthened my love of the outdoors, and allowed me to consider the possibility of moving my career into the environmental field. While looking for jobs, I decided to click on the “See All Jobs” button on an email, and found the position for Trail Crew Leader with Cleveland Metroparks, where I have continued to learn about trail designing, building, and maintenance.
Because I struggled to do research, I began writing By Ways Unseen in early 2002. I have since fallen in love with the fantasy genre, and continue to learn, grow, and write in it.
Very few of those decisions were the result of prolonged, agonized prayer, like I seem to be doing when trying to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up.” Instead, my life has become about spending daily time in Bible reading and prayer, and so filled with His Word just listening to the gentle nudges, like whispers.
How has He guided you in the past? Has it been whirlwinds, like Job (Job 38:1)? Or gentle whispers, like Elijah? How do you think He’ll continue to guide you, then?