I was raking the dooryard of my cabin located on the shore of a small Maine pond. The only sounds breaking the silence of the day were the rhythmic swishing of my rake and the occasional tremolo of a loon.
Absorbed in the peace and calm surrounding me, I was startled at a sudden idea that came to me. It concerned making a move to an out-of-state retirement community, where I had placed an application five years earlier. During the intervening years, management had notified me of vacancies as they occurred, but the time never seemed right for me to make a move.
After a surprised moment, I leaned my rake against the woodshed and sat down at the picnic table in the dooryard to ponder the ramifications of the move. It seemed so logical and right at this time, within my price range and near a family member with a special need. Despite my initial astonishment, I felt ready to explore the possibilities of such a step.
Making a change, whether it’s a job in a new city, a move driven by economic conditions, or an upgrading or downsizing in one’s living arrangements, can be an occasion to see the unfolding of a plan that brings with it new opportunities to witness God’s abundance of good in our lives.
Often fears intrude to rob us of the anticipation and fulfillment of a change. Perhaps it’s fear of what’s coming next and how it will affect our present situation. Maybe staying with the familiar is more comfortable than stretching into the unknown. Or it could be fear that in closing the door behind us, we’ve made a commitment to go forward that might turn sour. Then where would we be!
To counter these emotional cycles, we can withdraw our contemplation of them and instead pray to feel and know God’s loving presence as we take a new path down a road we have not yet trodden. Facing the future with our hand in His calms uncertainties and bolsters confidence in knowing that what lies ahead is already known to God and is ready for us to know through His guidance.
Like Moses, when urged by God to set a course of leadership he felt unequipped for (see Ex. 4:10), we can humble ourselves before our Maker, knowing that our way forward is hedged about with the angels of His presence. Mary Baker Eddy in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” described angels as “God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect” (p. 581).
I can’t say that I had been praying to have a change in my life revealed to me. What I do pray for daily, however, is receptivity to new ideas and the willingness to weigh them for their merit. It is in this weighing that I listen for and heed, to the best of my ability, the “pure and perfect spiritual intuitions.” I envision these angels lighting the way before me.
At no time since the inception of the idea did I waver in my conviction that making the move at this time was right for me.
Before turning the page to this new chapter in my life, however, I found it helpful to pause and quietly cherish how well my present apartment had served me – its convenient layout, the view from its windows, its friendly small-town community, and a caring landlord – knowing that the joy that had been mine there was a sure foundation for the continued good I anticipated in my new setting.
The idea that sprang forth as I was raking the dooryard at my camp has been fulfilled. I am now happily ensconced in an accommodation that is amply meeting all my needs. In addition I have the joy of more frequent contact with my loved family member.
Prayerfully entertaining unsought messages helps us discern their relevance to our experience. Whatever “next step” you may be contemplating can come to fruition, perhaps when you least expect it, but always when it is appropriate for your circumstances. We can be assured of the rightness of our decisions when we feel a continuous sense of “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7), confident that we are “moving” under His direction.
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