How We’re Learning

by Claudia Duff

When you join the military, even as a dependent, there are a lot of rules along with a steep learning curve, but somehow we get there. It becomes second nature to show an ID card when going into a store, even Wal-Mart. I take a number even if I am the only one in line; it’s all muscle memory now.

I do believe that is what God is after in our hearts–a conditioned response that compels us to “follow HIS directions.”

Following God’s directions can be a real struggle at times, at least for me and the children of Israel.

“In those days, there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 17:6 (ESV).

This verse resonates with me. “In my own eyes” is the first nail in my coffin of pride. “I got this!” usually means I don’t have it, at all, not even a little bit. And somewhere deep down, I know it’s true, but my pride makes me push onward until it all starts to fall apart.

A few weeks ago, I went kayaking with some girlfriends. I can’t remember the last time I was in a kayak, if ever. But, here I go with my bionic hip in a kayak going down a river and over rapids, backwards.

I watched the video, listened intently to the directions, and shoved into the river where I immediately trapped myself on the rocks. When the instructor saw me struggling, he waded out to rescue me. I whispered, “Don’t tell anyone I am a Navy wife!”

His response, “Wow, that’s really bad.” Meaning, “Lady, you should really know how to do this.” Once I was free, I began to paddle forward until the rapids found me, then it was all backwards!

It’s like that with God and HIS directions. Follow them and you might still get caught on the rocks. God will rescue you, remind you of the directions, pat you on the back and say, “Go get ’em, I got you!”

Then you fall into the rapids of life, backwards, and God is still saying, “I got you!” So, down the rapids backwards you go and guess what? You survive and you saw a different perspective of the rapids, backwards.

How to Follow God’s Directions

  1. Look for a touchstone, or a way to remember God and His directions.

At first this verse looks like another reciting of the failures of Israel, but it’s deeper than that. I see it as a touchstone. Remembering the past, and then learning from it is good. However, remembering the past and knowing that repentance will bring life, is even better.

I see it as a really big flag that the Lord is waving, “Remember Me? I still love you!”

I used to get truly annoyed with the children of Israel. How many times did God have to forgive, restore, and renew their wayward hearts? I don’t know Claudia, how many times?

I realized that I have received the greatest miracle, the rescue mission of all times–my soul. And God did that before I knew I needed a Savior. So, my wandering heart is greater than the children of Israel. They carried the Ark of the Covenant; I have the Holy Spirit in me, all the time.

The same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in me. I am humbled by the grace of God to me.

  1. Look backwards and record how you see God teaching you His directions.

I have always kept a journal, but last year I added to my journal collection (because I need another journal like I need another pair of shoes). I added a war binder.

In this binder I write down prayers, thoughts, songs, verses, and sermon and Bible study notes. Over the past few weeks I have begun rereading some of my entries, and the Lord’s sovereign hand is all over the pages.

I can see that even back then the Lord Himself was preparing me for this year’s theme of “All In – Courage and Obedience.”

I encourage you to write the stuff down because when you look back it will amaze you to know that God already knew where He was taking you because He got there first. Strap in ladies, the rapids are bumpy, but we get Jesus as our rescue swimmer!

Your Turn

Lord, make your Word as life to me. Allow me no options of surrendering to my selfish desires. Grant me courage to obey and happily follow Your directions. Help me to not walk this path of obedience alone; may Your presence encourage me to invite others to walk with me. I want to be an example of Christ the Hope of Glory. In Jesus Name, Amen



Gripped by a good and gracious God!

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