Today began my trip to the National Student Conference as I’m stopping along the way to spend time with God in the beauty of His creation in order to reset and prepare my mind and spirit for the conference. I was still tired when I got up this morning to get ready for the trip so I decided I would bypass the Friday traffic around Indianapolis and not have to worry about that craziness. My stop tonight is at McCormick’s Creek State Park so I mapped out a route that would take me to the west of Indy before heading south. Because I needed to get to State Road 231, my route had me joining up with that at Lafayette and then heading south through Crawfordsville. When I saw that, I new I needed to add pit stops at Shades State Park and Turkey Run State Park as they would not be far out of the way.
Once I knew my route, I finished packing and then stopped by the office to load books and display material for the conference. The first half of today’s trip was uneventful other than a heaviness of heart as I was more aware of a lot of small crosses along the road. I know I see them often, but they just never meant as much as they do now. As each cross became a reminder to pray for my brother and his family, God was arranging another pit stop of sorts that I hadn’t planned on. As my GPS was taking me along the edge of West Lafayette, I entered a good deal of road construction and then finally a detour as the road I wanted was completely closed. As I followed the detour, I realized it was taking me right through the Purdue campus. As I was stopped in traffic, I looked around and noticed that most of the buildings along one side of the street were various fraternity and sorority houses. I didn’t notice the one my niece had belonged to, but while I was stuck there in the detoured traffic I spent the time praying that God would raise up someone to be His light in the sorority like Bre was. I prayed that the students would continue to reflect on her life and give careful consideration to the faith she displayed. I prayed that a new or existing student would pray for the rest of the sisters the way Bre did. As traffic began to move, I began to wonder if perhaps my last minute desire to avoid Indy was God’s way of putting me where He wanted me to be for a few moments of my day. I am so glad I listened and had the reminder to pray.
Once I was through the Purdue campus and back on my planned route, it was off to the parks to do some hiking and listening. At my first stop, I found a spot in the middle of my hike where I simply sat for a while as it was so peaceful and a great listening spot. The sounds of the water running over the rocks and the birds singing throughout the woods was accompanied by numerous butterflies fluttering about. It was a good start to the refreshing that I need before leading some workshops on developing a lifestyle of prayer. Sometimes the most difficult thing to do in life is to simply be still enough to identify and listen to the direction God gives through His Spirit.
I pray that you and I would continually grow in our desire to be in relationship with God. I pray that we would look for His direction in the times our plans don’t work like we thought they should. I pray that we would seek out times and places where we can be still before God simply to be in His presence.