[Job 29:6 NAS]
The night before I left for Nicaragua (see previous posting 2/12/12), members of my home church gathered around to send me off with prayers and spiritual encouragement. After we were done, a prophetic leader got up to share on another topic and, before she began her own subject, she turned toward me and said something like, "Gina, I felt the Lord wanted me to say this to you, but I didn't say it earlier because I'd never heard Him say anything like this before. But I keep hearing it, so I believe He wants me to tell you to 'Follow the yellow brick road.' " :)
I smiled, because I understand that God speaks to us creatively, in ways that may seem unusual, amusing, or even confusing at first. I think this aspect of Holy Spirit communication encourages us to be child-like, to remain open and expand our hearts & minds, to keep listening and seeking Him for all that He wants to say and do in our lives. So I thanked her and tucked that funny little word away in my heart. I'd been experiencing new freedom to follow Holy Spirit (more than just "rules" or what other people expect of me), so I figured this had something to do with following His grace and guidance - I knew He'd continue to speak and bring futher understanding and clarity, as I continue to listen and walk with Him.
The next day, as I was going through security at Dulles airport, I heard a TSA employee call out loudly, "Come on, people... Follow the yellow brick road!" Now, I have been in dozens of airports in my lifetime, and although there are probably yellow lines on the floor in many of them, I had never heard those words spoken out loud in the security area before. I chuckled, because it seemed obvious to me that God was reminding me of the previous night, and that those words really were from Him. I continued to "put them on a shelf," so to speak, and to walk in His grace, looking forward to the mission work we were about to do in Nicaragua.
To be honest, I didn't fully connect the words "yellow brick road" with "walking in His grace" until the end of the week, but God continued to develop this theme by introducing a second - seemingly unrelated - thought: "buttery steps." As I walked through the airport that morning, I was keenly aware of God's presence, and a sense of peace & joy in the perfect ease with which He was providing all we needed for this trip - it reminded me of a sermon I'd heard the previous week about God's grace and favor, including a reference to a Bible verse about "steps drenched with cream," butter and oil... so I got out my cell phone and posted on Facebook (where lots of my 329 friends are Christians :)), "Who knows where the verse is about 'buttery steps'?" Instantly, a friend replied, "Job 29:6." When I got to my departure gate, I sat down and looked up the reference in various Bible versions on my Kindle. The first two translations were very different from one another, but I was starting to get the picture:
"In those days my cows produced milk in abundance, and my olive groves poured out streams of olive oil." [NLT]
"When everything was going my way, and nothing seemed too difficult." [MSG]
Another version sounded more like the message I'd heard the week before:
"...when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil." [NIV]
I believe this verse came to mind because I was experiencing how wonderfully things come together when we're walking in God's grace. I had seen God's provision for every detail of this trip - from things I knew would be "easy" to others I'd been tempted to worry about ("how am I going to...?") but had seen Him provide effortlessly as I simply trusted His grace and "put one foot in front of the other," following Him step by step. Of course I don't think that walking with God means we won't encounter obstacles or challenges along the way, but I've begun to realize that, as we yield everything to Him, we can have confidence that He - in all of His magnificent Goodness and unlimited ability - will give us all we need to do wherever He has called us to do. Perhaps you've heard this, too: "Where God guides, He provides." It's true!
The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives.
[Psalm 37:23 NLT]
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
[Ephesians 2:10 NAS]
So maybe I was a little slow to make the connection, but I didn't fully realize that "buttery steps" were related to His
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
[Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJ]
But for those who are righteous, the path is not steep and rough. You are a God of justice, and you smooth out the road ahead of them.
[Isaiah 26:7 NLT]