Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 40:31)
We all know that God is in us by way of the Holy Spirit. We also know that God goes before us and is beside us every step of the way as we advance toward the Celestial City. But did you know that God often shows up in tangible ways from behind—providing guidance and direction? Make no mistake; we are indeed blessed from behind!
It may seem strange to think of God being behind you, providing guidance, insight, and blessing, but this is one of God’s way of growing us up in Christ. And these are often the times of the greatest growth.
We are all familiar with the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of cloud by night. During the exodus out of Egypt, the Israelites followed the pillar when it moved and they camped when it stopped. Either way, it was always before them. But there are also times when God determines it is best to lead us from behind.
Think about it this way: it was pretty easy for the Israelites to follow God day and night as He went before them in the pillar of cloud and fire. They saw the cloud and followed wherever it led. But when God is leading us from behind, we must become far more sensitive to His leading, because it comes in unexpected ways. We have to be that much more still before our God in order to be able to listen to His leading. Our forward progress is rooted in our ability to listen rather than to look . . . and, with all the voices and messages clamoring for our attention, listening is far more difficult these days.
So . . . when was the last time you heard a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it?” If you have ever studied the ways of one who herds sheep, you will know that there are times when the shepherd moves to the front of the flock and leads, and there are times when he goes to the back of the flock and drives his sheep from there. There are also times when he walks beside them. The shepherd does what is best for the flock, based on the circumstances he and his sheep are currently facing.
This is also true of the Good Shepherd. Our Lord Jesus Christ knows when it is best to lead His sheep from the front, where He is easy to see and follow. And He knows when it is best to drive us from behind. And then there are those times—particularly when we are confronted by the storm winds of life—when our loving Lord walks right beside us. We simply must be sensitive to understand the way in which our Lord is leading us at the time.
Know this: following His guidance from behind stretches our faith. It is far easier to follow a pillar of cloud and fire that is out in front of us and clearly leading the way. God wants us to trust Him in every set of circumstances . . . and that includes those special times when He has chosen to lead us from behind . . . because some blessings will only be received from behind.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!