I was six years old the first time I saw Branson, Missouri. For those of you who don’t know Branson, it is the live music capital of the world, boasting of tens of thousands theater seats, hundreds of amusement attractions, and over fifteen thousand hotel rooms. It has been called Las Vegas without the gambling. When I first saw it, it was much more quaint.
My mother took us to the Sammy Lane Boat Line, where a few dozen of us boarded for a pirate adventure on Lake Taneycomo. During the adventure, I was chosen to “pilot the boat.”
The ship’s captain told me to steer to the right of the buoy.
Simple enough, but at six, I had never heard the word buoy. I should have asked what he meant, but I was too embarrassed. I wanted to be captain, and I figured every good captain should know the meaning of the word buoy.
“Point towards that white thing,” he said.
The only white things I saw were the reflections of sunlight off the lapping waters. So, I steered toward them. Straight towards the left bank.
“No. No. Not that way,” he said. Within seconds, the captain had taken the wheel and spun it to the right, taking us into deeper waters.
When I read this verse in Isaiah 30:21, I think of that boat captain, sitting behind me, talking in my ear, giving me directions.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.
Then I think of a passage in Job 23:8-9, where Job is desperate to hear God’s voice guide him.
“Look, I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
How can we expect to walk in the footsteps of God during those times when God tests us, or we cannot hear His voice. Should we turn left or right? We cry, “Please God, tell us what to do!”
Job answers his own question: stay on the path that we know is right. Walk in His Word.
But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
My foot has held fast to His steps;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
Just steer a straight course. Stay in the channel of deep waters. And if you are a mere babe in Christ, like the six year old boy steering the boat, don’t worry. He will take the wheel I’d you go to far astray.
Fear Not, for even when we cannot perceive the voice of God, His Word is Our Guide.