One of the hymns that has become a beloved of many is “In the Garden” written by Charles Austin Miles, more than 100 years ago. According to Miles, the inspiration of the song came from John 20, the encounter between Mary Magdalene and Jesus after He rose from the dead. As you might recall, initially Mary thought that the man who spoke to her was a gardener. It turned out to be Jesus, her beloved teacher. No wonder the chorus goes, “And He walks with me, and He talks with me. And He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there; none other has ever known.”
After He ascended to heaven, Jesus does not talk with us like He did with Mary 2000 years ago. But He still does today, through His Holy Spirit who dwells in us, His children. Isaiah 30:21 sums it well, “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.’“ As long as we want to hear Him, He will never stop speaking to us. Like parents, He will always direct us, “This is the way, walk in it.” And when He sees danger, He will warn us, “This is not the way, do not walk in it.”
A couple of days ago our daughter and her husband went out of town to attend a wedding, leaving their two children with us. They took their youngest because he happened to be the ring-bearer. It’s been a long while since we put them to sleep. We thought we just needed to follow their nightly routine—bedtime stories then prayer. Well, we thought wrong; they did not go to sleep as they were supposed to. They said they missed their mama. So, in the end I had to be in bed with them until they fell asleep. They needed to hear my voice and more importantly, they needed my presence.
We, too, need to hear God’s voice and more importantly, His presence to give us peace and direction. So sent He the Holy Spirit.