Searching for Signal

You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. —Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV

I was watching a baseball game on television one rainy evening when the picture began breaking up.  The screen went black, and white letters appeared across the bottom: “Searching for satellite signal. Please stand by.”

After a half hour of trying to keep up with the score on a fragmented, silent screen, I gave up and went to bed. The next day, however, the reception wasn’t any better, but then again, neither was the weather. 

“I don’t remember the reception ever being this bad,” I complained to my husband.

“Maybe I didn’t angle the dish right,” he said.

At the time we were siding our house, and he’d taken the dish off the side of the house and attached it, facing the southern sky, to a post in the ground.

He pulled out the instruction manual and flipped through until he came to the section on adjusting the dish. Fifteen minutes later, we had a clear picture. Although the dish had been pointed in the right direction, it had to be at a precise angle to receive the signal from the sending satellite.

Sometimes the storms of life interfere with the signals God sends me. Or sometimes, even though I’m facing the right direction, I’m not receiving what He’s telling me because I have the wrong angle. That “angle” could be selfishness, hurt feelings, a touch of envy or jealousy, or a simmering anger. Maybe I’m nursing a grudge and harboring unforgiveness. Perhaps my desires are becoming worldly, or I’m pursuing something I know is not in God’s will for me.

Whatever the interference—whether outside of my control, such as a storm, or within my control, such as my own rebelliousness—it causes me to lose contact with a God who promises never to leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Hebrews 13:5).

So how do I adjust my angle so that I’m once again getting a clear picture?

First I pray, confessing my willfulness and sin. Or, if a life-storm is the problem, I ask God to guide me through it, protect me, and strengthen me.

Then I read His Word. While I don’t play “Bible roulette,” picking verses at random, God’s Holy Spirit often brings to mind certain portions of Scripture that address my beleaguered spirit. Frequently the day’s scheduled reading is just what I need. His Word truly is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105), “full of living power, sharper than the sharpest knife,” cutting deep into my innermost thoughts and desires, revealing to me what I really am (Hebrews 4:12).

Just reading His Word isn’t enough, however. I must meditate on it, think of how it relates to me, how to apply what I’ve read to my own situation. Then I pray again, asking God to forgive me, help me, and guide me.

Unlike my satellite dish, my angle needs adjusted every day, even moment by moment. But I know, whether storms are raging outside or inside, if I seek God with all my heart, He has promised I will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). Only then will I have a clear picture.

Thank You, God, that You are never far away. Why, You’re as close as the mention of Your name! Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 63:1–8.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Two Rocks Don’t Make a Duck

Cairn at Acadia National Park
September 23, 2013

My God is my rock. – Psalm 18:2 (NIV)

When my husband and I visited the Acadia National Park Visitors Center, informational placards lined the uphill walkway from the parking lot to the building. Of course, I had to read them all. Not only because I needed to catch my breath from climbing the hundred-plus steps, either. Maybe it’s the teacher in me. Or my insatiable curiosity. Or both.

Since Dean’s impatience at my frequent stops was starting to show (and it was only the beginning of the day), I took pictures of the placards so I could read them later in the evening when he was asleep in his recliner.

But the cairns intrigued me, and I took my sweet time at each of them.

A cairn is a stone structure built to point the way on a trail. Although cairns come in various shapes and sizes, the ones at Acadia were no more than 18 inches high and were built with four or six large stones: two or four large, square ones on the bottom with one large, rectangular stone spanning them, and a smaller, triangular-shaped one on top, with the tip pointing the direction of the trail.

“Cairns are carefully built and placed to point the way,” one placard read. “When trail blazes are hidden by fog or snow, cairns are essential,” said another.

Another placard warned of tampering with the cairns: “Do not build new cairns or add to existing cairns – you may confuse or endanger hikers.”

Back at the camper, I googled “cairns” to find out more about them. Trail marks in North America, I learned, are often called “ducks” or “duckies” because the point of the top rock resembles a duck’s beak. “The expression ‘two rocks don’t make a duck’ reminds hikers that just one rock resting on another could be the result of accident or nature rather than intentional trail marking.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairn)

Like a path in the woods, the trail of life can be confusing at times, too. The fog of indecision, the snow of fear about the results of our choices may hide the direction we are to go. Sometimes all the paths look good – or bad.

Right now I’m wrestling with a decision of whether or not to proceed with the project of publishing a third book of meditations – compilations of this column. Since I self-publish, the cost upfront comes out of my pocket. I’ve started two or three times to put the book together since my last compilation came out in 2002. But each time I backed out because of finances.

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you,” the Bible tells us in James 1:5 (NLT).

And again: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NLT).

God’s cairns are there for the asking. But sometimes we don’t recognize them because, like me, we don’t know what they are.

But when we do, we see that He’s placed them at every point we need direction. We just need eyes to see the duck.

Give me the spiritual sight to see and recognize the cairns You’ve placed along my life’s path, O Lord. Amen.

Read and reflect on Exodus 13:21–22

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.