Children gathered in the grassy yard under the shade of a large oak tree. One stood in front of the other four, motioning them to line up. After some shoving and jostling for space, they faced the lone child who called for their attention.
“Okay, here we go.” A game of Simon says began.
“Simon says, ‘Put your hand on your head.’ Simon says, ‘Turn to the right.’ ” The leader accelerated the pace of instructions as the game progressed. “Simon says, ‘Turn to the left.’ Simon says, ‘Squeeze your nose.’ Now, put your hand on your head!”
Oops. Simon didn’t say it, but three of four kids put their hand on their head. “Simon says” is surprisingly hard for children and adults. Winning requires we listen and choose to obey or disobey a command based on whether we hear “Simon says” immediately before the command. We pay close attention at first but eventually follow a command that Simon
Why? Sometimes we’ve grown inattentive. Other times we can’t remember fast enough if we heard “Simon says” or we can’t control our impulse to act once we’re in a pattern of doing. We plow forward. For instance, who recalls rushing through a page of problems in elementary school, adding each one, only to realize at the end that some problems were subtraction? We get in a rhythm and miss new cues or information introduced into the situation.
Do I act the same with God? Sometimes. I intend to obey but lose focus after I’ve been at it for a while. I anticipate directions and quit listening with fresh ears or seeing with new eyes. Routine and accomplishment lull me into thinking I’m in control and headed rightly. Like the kids, my concentration drifts away from the Leader and His voice fades in the distance. I miss His golden opportunities or impulsively head a different direction. Fortunately, He forgives.
The kids roll their eyes and shrug their shoulders, acknowledging their misstep. They fix their eyes back on the leader, who smiles and begins again…
The Lord says, “Come and worship me.”
The Lord says, “I am with you wherever you go.”
The Lord says, “I will deliver you.”
The Lord says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged.”
The Lord says, “I have heard your prayer.”
This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48: 17-18)
©2011 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.