It was early Sunday morning. I was thirty minutes from Bear Pen Community Church in Wolfe County, Kentucky, where I was scheduled to preach. It was still a couple of hours before the service. I pulled off at a Rest Park near Natural Bridge to rest a while and collect my thoughts.
A gentle rain was falling, and mist was hanging on the hills and in the valleys. The Lord in His artistry had painted a blush on the cheeks of the hills as the redbuds were in full flower. Here and there the snow white blooms of the first dogwoods of the season could be seen. The fresh, glistening green of new foliage provided the backdrop for a scene only the God of Creation could paint. I slid my seat back and for a few precious minutes reveled in the beauty of hills. Eastern Kentucky had been my boyhood home before I left for Asbury College. Although the passing years have taken me around the world, the hills have never left my heart or mind.
I had been ‘heavy laden’ for several months. Ms. Sue, my beautiful bride of 57 years, had survived a devastating heart attack. By God’s grace, she was finally able to exit the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and jettison the picc-lines, I.V. hook-ups, feeding tubes, catheter, etc., and come home. But, the sobering reality that we needed to sell our home, divest ourselves of many family treasures, and dramatically downsize, loomed large in our minds. Memories of the home we had built with our own hands 45 years ago had to yield to present circumstances.
But, here in my beloved hills, God heard my heart’s cry, and I felt His calming presence. I heard God’s voice that morning. Skeptics would likely say it was just the wind whispering through the nearby pines trees. They would probably discount the melodious sounds of the Heavenly Father’s Choir as nothing more than song birds celebrating the return of spring. To some, His gentle footsteps would easily have been mistaken for the soft patter of the rain.
I believe God is a speaking God. Sometimes He speaks through a preacher, in a hymn, and often through His written word. I heard Him speak through His creation that day! As I relaxed in His presence, His word came alive in me, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth… The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore” (Psalm 121:1-2, 7-8, NKJV).
In my spirit, I was walking in God’s garden here in these beautiful hills. My heart began to sing:
I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.
He speaks and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me within my heart is ringing. (Anne Murray)
Conclusion: Life is so much better when the Lord “walks with us, and talks to us and tells us we are His own”.
~ Brother Roy