Behind and Before...

It was a bright and beautiful Saturday morning. On a bike ride with Doug and Kayla, I could feel the sun on my back and the wind through my hair. My muscles pumped as the trail took us up slight inclines. Coasting down with speed took me right back to childhood joy and adventure, as I felt the rush of accomplishment, the pay off for the trek up. Once you make it up the hill, the ride down feels so good. It’s the same feeling I get when I swing with my girls on a playground. I am immediately taken back to the childhood wonder of being in the moment, simply invigorated by being alive.

The path that we took was a bit narrow and many other bikers and pedestrians were enjoying it along with us. As Kayla was riding in front of me, I begin to see some of what was coming up ahead. I realized she wasn’t aware of it. I begin to coach her from behind. “Stay to the right baby girl...Do you see that biker coming right up ahead? Oooh, honey, there is a little one running with her mama...Slow down baby girl...Be careful...I know it’s hard to get up the hill...Stand up on your bike pedals and pump hard...You can do this...You can do it...Stay with it...Yay! You did it...Okay, now be careful as you descend!   Ride the breaks a bit..Slow down...Good job! I love bike-riding with you!”

There were a few moments where Kayla needed a break. So I would go to her side, and be with her, resting there until she was ready to get back on. I never left her. I was always with her, of course, and even though she wasn’t sure she could make it, I knew she could.

At one point Doug was in front of her and I was behind her and my mind went straight to Psalm 139. I have been soaking in it for a few weeks. It’s one of my favorites, and I have come back to it at different times and God has revealed more about who He is each time I sit with it. In that moment, the words of the psalmist flooded my heart, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise. You are familiar with all my ways. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am…You both precede me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” (verses 1-3, 5)

In that moment God gave me a picture of His daily, moment by moment presence with me. He is in front of me and behind me. He sees things I can not see, and so he whispers the way. He tell me where to go, what to do, all the while being right there with me, encouraging me and inspiring me by the power of His Holy Spirit.

I love the words of Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Oh how I want to tune into that voice, because as my experience with Kayla Joy reminded me, God sees things I don’t see and He loves me in a way that I can only imagine.

Sometimes we wish God would shout to us like a mother does her child on a bike along a dangerous path! We wish He would write things in the sky, speak in an audible voice, give us an undeniable sign. What if he is, and we just simply aren’t listening? Maybe it’s like speaking to someone with ear buds in, say, a teenager. Someone is very much speaking, but the person who is listening to another song can’t hear.

God is always speaking, so let's tune into his voice. Like a child, who is fully present in the exact moment she is in, we must be present to this moment, bending our ear to God because He is speaking, and He wants to lead us.

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to know! I can never escape form your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!” (verse 6)

Today, how will you tune into the voice of your Father, the one who goes before you and behind you?

He is with you and He is for you and He is speaking!