Some people say, “I feel like someone’s following me.” It’s a scary, creepy feeling. There are a second set of feet that match their steps and soon their pace. But, they look behind them and they don’t see anyone.They get into their cars or close the door to their homes and breathe a sigh of relief. I’ve had that feeling more often than I would like to admit. Most if not all of the occasions have been imagined. Sadly, I’ve watched far too many episodes (and repeat episodes) of Murder She Wrote, Matlock, In The Heat of the Night, Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted, Law and Order and Law and Order: SVU, Criminal Minds and NCIS. In fact, these are the shows that I gravitate towards. It’s not that I like to look at what’s wrong with the world but that I like to be reminded that mysteries can be solved and that persons can be brought to justice.
Nevertheless, today, I had a different feeling. I’m not sure how to describe it but I feel like Someone is leading me. As a Christian, I know that Person to be the Holy Spirit. I understand God’s Spirit to be present not only with us but in us, that it not only comforts and corrects but that God’s Spirit also guides. But, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.
This past weekend was filled with deadlines and expectations, crunched timelines and abbreviated sleeping patterns. I had two papers to write, a worship program to create, a presentation to compose and deliver, a meeting for which I was the principal speaker and a sermon to receive and deliver. All of this was to occur in the span of three days: this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I have never been one to wait until the last minute. My plan to complete and prepare for these tasks ahead of schedule was delayed by a cold that has been hanging on to me for nearly three weeks. Of course, instead of resting, I attempted to complete these tasks but only made matters worse.
This week, I am in Orlando, Florida at the American Baptist Churches, USA’s New Ministers Orientation, which brings me to my point. Since I’ve been here, I feel as if God has been leading me. I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised since the theme is “Go to a New Land: Journeying toward God.” But, I hadn’t had time to consider it’s meaning for my life and ministry before arriving yesterday. In fact, I arrived in Orlando not really sure of what I was supposed to do next. Honestly, I just wanted to stop moving and I’ve been considering the needs of others so much lately that it seems strange to focus on myself and my life with God.
I came thinking that this was just another requirement to be met, another checkbox to be filled in. But, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Last night’s message delivered by the Reverend Zina Jacque, pastor of the Community Church of Barrington, Illinois, spoke to me clearly and I felt as if God had been watching me, listening to my prayers and collecting my tears. She preached from the thirty-third chapter of Numbers and reviewed for us the wilderness itinerary of the children of Israel. She taught us about the forty- two places that they traveled. These were unknown places, obstacle places and oasis places. She then reminded us that God had given us the land; it had been promised to us. Now, I just have to follow God’s leading.
Today, I feel as if God is walking in front of me and it brings me great joy. It is as if God is dropping little signs of His interest in me, dropping bits of inspiration in my path, reminding me that I am called and that He has a purpose for my life. It is a feeling that brings relief and I want to close the door to my hotel room to bask in this reality. But, it’s more than a feeling; it is a blessed assurance. God has taken His time to remind me that I am not alone but that I am being led.