Steps, stops are both of god's signals to follow in spiritual path

Brenda Cannon Henley

My boss for many years, Dr. John R. Rice, founder and editor of The Sword of the Lord, authored 368 books in his years on the earth. That is a greater number of books than the majority of people will ever read in a lifetime. He was prolific with pen and paper, but to me, his greatest strength was the fact that he could take a deep biblical truth and teach it in such a simple fashion so anyone in his audience could understand it.

Dr. Rice often told his workers, many of whom were writers and speakers, “to keep the messages on the bottom shelf, so everyone could reach them.” He added that almost every person he knew enjoyed peanut butter and jelly because it was usually easy to reach in the pantry.

For instance, one of Dr. Rice’s biggest selling books, “Prayer ... Asking and Receiving,” took the central theme of prayer and broke it down to ultimately two words: asking and receiving. We ask God for things, and we receive them. Dr. Rice used an illustration of a son asking his father to meet a need and then accepting the answer. Of course, we also understand sin, obedience, harm, and timing, but the concept works.

Another illustration I remember is when Dr. Rice taught on the simple verse, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23) And then he paused for a few seconds, as if thinking, and said ever so quietly, “but so are the stops.”

I have learned that there are times in our lives where God seems to say, “Whoa there. Hold on. That’s enough for now. Slow down. Rest. Regroup. Be still. Listen.” Some of these stopping points frighten us. Others confuse us. A few might make us angry or out of sorts. But in the evenings of our lives, we realize that just as the steps are indeed ordered by God, so are the stops.

For some of us, a stop may come as a result of a health issue. We simply cannot continue at the pace we are on, or we must completely stop what we are doing for a time. For others, it might be the end of a particular job or position within that employment arena. More sadly, the stop may appear when a broken relationship is realized, the death of a loved one, financial reversal, relocation, the loss of some treasure, or a multitude of other circumstances that keep our wheels from turning.

When God chooses to hold up a big red stop sign in our lives, let’s remember that this time is just as important as the green go signs that send us on our way.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at 409 781 8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.