Back when I was a kid, I remember being at the beach and building beautiful castles out of sand. I would have formed the turrets and dug the mote, and after many trips to and from the water with my little bucket, the mote would be filled…And that’s when I would hear the “noise”. It was my mom calling my name. And I knew that even though my masterpiece would be ruined by the time I could return, I still had to stop immediately and run to her side. Otherwise, I risked getting left in the beach!
This was the same kind of a feeling I had in March, 2020. My wife and I were happily vacationing in the warm land of southern Arizona. It was still winter in our Canadian home, and we were thoroughly enjoying the fact that someone else was shoveling the driveway. We were thrilled to not have to be putting on a coat, boots, ear muffs, a scarf and gloves just to open the door and get the mail. We were so happy to be out hiking among the towering seguaros, and to make it even lovelier, the prickly pear cactus were actually starting to bloom early that year! Turning around and fleeing for home was the last thing either of us would have wanted to do; but we heard that “noise”. This time it wasn’t my mother’s voice; rather it was the voice on the news: The US/Canada border would soon be closing! And just like I had to abandon my sand castle in my younger days, we had to quickly climb in the car and set out on that 5000 km trip back home, or we risked getting shut out of our own country. And yes, in our rush to be on the road, we left an item or two at the B&B where we had been staying…
After nearly two years of COVID craziness, we thought it was over. Numbers were going down, international borders were relaxing, and for the first time in well over a year, the Canadian government withdrew their international travel advisory. Hey, the US/Canadian land-border even opened back up to the fully vaccinated! We had been forced to endure the freezing cold of the 2021 Canadian winter, and my wife and I were chomping at the bit to once again become the “Canadian snowbirds” we had always dreamed of being upon retirement. This time, our destination would be Hawaii. Neither of us had been there, despite the fact that my wife grew up in California, and it had been on our “bucket list” for years. Everything looked promising, we purchased our tickets, made our reservations, and we spent hours researching all the wonderful things we would be able to do once we were “cut free” from Canadian snows. Yet once again, we heard that “noise”… A new COVID variant was spreading rapidly throughout the world: Omicron! Travel advisories were quickly put back into place, and it was strongly advised that Canadians cancel any international travel plans. We took it all to the Lord in prayer, and His voice was clear: Cancel your trip! And so it was that once again we were faced with having our fun brought to a screeching halt — this time before it had actually even begun! It was with heavy hearts that we set about cancelling our hotels, our rental car reservations and our flights, and began preparing to bunker down in our home as the biting winds and snows of winter began to once again ravish our country… And yes, even though the trip was stopped before it started, we still “left” something in Hawaii… A good chunk of money that had been prepaid for our lodging…
Was it all worth it?
In the case of my mother’s voice, yes it was. I’d be able to build other beautiful sand castles, and I certainly didn’t want to be left behind! Besides, I loved my mom so much that I didn’t want to make her upset with me.
In the case of our trip to Arizona cut short at the onset of COVID, yes it was also worth it. The B&B people were happy to send us the items we had forgotten in our rush to leave, and as we crossed back into Canada the day before the border officially closed, the sheer relief of having made it back on time was more than worth the stress.
And what about the Hawaii trip, cut off before it even began by the “noise” of Omicron? We knew when we cancelled the reservations that we would lose money. But with God speaking to us so loudly about not going, we were pretty sure that if we went anyway, we would be sorry. So yes, even the loss of that reservation money seemed worthwhile.
In life, we are all racing down different paths. Some are beneficial, some are not. No matter who or where we are or what we are doing, God will always make “noise” when we are on the wrong path. It will always be our choice to listen and obey, or to continue doing our own thing. And yes, there is always a cost when we are on the wrong path, even when we turn around and hurry back! Nonetheless, it is worth it. We never know when God is working to save us from something. Maybe it is impending physical danger. Maybe it is a bad relationship, or perhaps we are unknowingly on a slippery slop that leads to addiction or other types of sin.
Whatever it is you are doing right now, I urge you to take a moment and consult with God. Ask Him if you are on the right track. You can’t check often enough! Then be prepared, if necessary, to do a complete about face. Maybe you’ve applied to the wrong job. Maybe you are in a dangerous relationship. Maybe you are with the wrong bunch of friends, ones that will ultimately lead you away from the Lord. Whatever it is, do what I did as a child! Do what my wife and I did when we almost got stuck in Arizona! Do what we did when the “noise” of Omicron began blasting in our ears! Fall on your knees! Consult our Heavenly Father! And then follow His advice!
God tells us, “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.’” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV). And when we obey that voice, we will never go wrong, for, “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” (Exodus 15:13 NIV)
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries