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How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
(Isaiah 52:7 NIV)
Our God reigns, and more than 2000 years after having Isaiah proclaim the message of today’s passage of focus, God still wants assure His children of its validity. He has reminded me of this fact more times than I can count, but on one of the occasions when I most needed to hear Him say it, He did. Audibly. Through the voice of a follower not at all unlike the subjects of today’s passage of focus.
Awhile back, I found myself with the opportunity to serve as marshal for the 2015 graduating class of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary – Charlotte. The role was quite an honor for this then-student who unashamedly admits that GCTS to this day stands as a home and family rivaled by no other and second only to my literal home and biological family.
But as I sat waiting for the graduates to form their marching line as moms, dads, spouses and even children scurried for last-minute snapshots of their capped-and-gowned loved ones, a slideshow of bittersweet memories, exhaustion and – to be honest – some extent of emptiness tumbled around inside of me. Several months prior, my life had been flung into a busy intersection of culture versus conviction related to a non-school situation. I hadn’t asked, let alone expected, to be standing at that particular crossroads and weighing the heavy options that now threatened to crush my heart and, by extension, my health.
For various reasons, this whole graduation setting brought the situation into such sharp focus that I felt the weight of the enemy’s kick down to the very pit of my stomach. I knew the processional would begin at any moment. The first chords of the anthem had signaled that fact to us. And there I sat, posing to God for the umpteenth time in a span of months two of the questions that haunted me to the depths of my soul.
Is there ever a time when it’s spiritually acceptable to lay down one’s own moral convictions for the sake of keeping peace with others? And, if so, is this one of those times? A lot of people are telling me it is, Lord, but I need to hear it from you.
I had barely finished the thought when I was aware that someone had walked to my side, and when I turned, I saw the GCTS Dean. Now picture this scenario for a moment if you will. The director of the ceremony has just motioned to me that it’s time to begin the processional. I have 100 or so graduating students at my back who – rightfully so – are eager to get this proverbial show on the road. And the campus dean is no where near his appointed place in the processional line-up; this guy has proceeded, in fact, to squat – in ceremonial graduation robe, tam and all – to a point where he is eye-level with me. And he says:
We all appreciate your help [on Student Council] this year; the way you lead with conviction.
You rock, just the way you are Carole Anne; don’t ever let anyone tell you differently. (Brackets mine.)
He stood, took his place in line, and the procession began to move forward into the auditorium. I believed then – as I believe now – that on that day, at that place, in that moment, the campus dean served not so much as the campus dean but as one form of the hands, feet, heart – and mouthpiece – of Christ Himself. I know for a fact that, while the dean knew not a whit of the situation I faced, the words he spoke played a major role in my finally finding my place – and God’s peace – in my situation. 

I often think back to that moment in time and wonder how things would have turned out for me had he not paused amid the chaos of a manmade schedule to give me those brief and unexpected words of encouragement This I do know, that in my own way I experienced firsthand and very personally that day that, indeed, our God reigns!
If you gain only one takeaway from this three-part segment of our series, I pray this is it. Although not always in such an obvious manner, God converses with us today as surely as he conversed with others in the Scripture we saw over the previous two days. And He speaks in just the right time and just the right way to whomever is willing to hear and discern His voice in light of James 3:17 NIV:
The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere.
Conclude this segment by taking time to reflect on the following questions before documenting your PRAYER conversation for today in light of your responses:
What, if any, goals might you set for your enhanced listening to and discerning of 
God’s voice in your life?
How might a person pro-actively make him- or herself humbly and sincerely available to Christ as His hands, feet and mouthpiece in service others?
Please see Day 1 of the series for suggested content regarding the PRAYER conversation associated with this series.
Praise and Thanksgiving:
Copyright 2017 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.