Pay close attention to all of the details

Published 6:09 pm Friday, October 24, 2014

While out of town during her Fall break from school, Gale and I were out walking shortly after sundown.  As we strolled along in deep white sand, I received a telephone call; I was delighted to hear Madeline’s voice as she spoke, but I had no idea what her question meant.  She went directly to the reason for her call without providing any other information:  “Are ya’ll coming?” My mind started to race in an attempt to figure out what Papa had forgotten.  Was it a birthday or some other event that I was supposed to be at?  No matter what it was, I was two hours away so I would just have to suffer whatever consequences resulted from my absence; the biggest consequence for me would be the pain of me disappointing her.

After listening to her for a bit and getting more information, I was able to understand what she meant—the Friday night football game!  She might have felt a little let down that Nana and Papa would not be there with her as we usually are, but I am confident she has forgiven me by now and everything is alright.

Details are essential to rightly understanding a conversation.  Much confusion and misunderstanding can arise when details are intentionally or unintentionally withheld.  Madeline’s phone call, though puzzling at first, became completely clear once I understood what she was referring to.  It only required a little time and patience for me to reach that place of connecting with what she was trying to ask me.

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On that same trip last week Gale and I were sitting well above the treetops on the balcony of the motel.  Addyson was with us, talking almost nonstop like usual.  As she looked through the balcony rails she said to us, “Something’s crawling.”  You never know what a four year old will come up with next; I supposed that she had seen a spider or some other bug crawling, but Gale took a closer look and realized what Addy had discovered–it was a well nourished possum waddling along the walkway around the swimming pool down below.  If Gale had not taken a look at the important details we would have missed out on what Addyson was observing.  (Granted, the sighting of an ugly marsupial is neither uncommon nor exciting, but even that is special when you share it with your granddaughter!)

As we walk with God we sometimes miss His direction for our lives because we fail to take the time and effort to understand what He wants to convey to us.  We miss details that He can use to guide our lives and fulfill His plan in us and through us when we neglect reading and meditating upon Scripture, and when we allow the demands of life to blind our eyes to circumstances that He might be trying to use to move us into a new direction that He desires for us to pursue.

The writer of Psalm 23 understood the value of seeking out the details of life that God placed in his path.  He included this observation:  “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (verses 2-3, New International Version).

Life is more meaningful and less stressful when we take time to experience the details that God desires to whisper into our lives.