July 23, 2020

I Have Only to Listen by Joylene M. Bailey

Photo from Pixabay

You will be in an accident today.

These are the words I heard as I left our country driveway to spend a long day in the city running errands. Our three little girls were strapped in the back seat of my van. 

We had much to accomplish that day and I had lists upon lists doing loops in my head as I paused by our black mailbox at the end of the gravel driveway. 

In the middle of all that brain clutter, and just as I started to pull forward, the words you will be in an accident today zapped like lightning on a perfectly clear day. I put on the brakes.

Did I hear that right? Surely that was just a weird random thought.

Nevertheless, I prayed for God’s protection, then triple checked both ways and eased onto the highway. All through the day I was hyper vigilant; double checking left and right before making a turn, waiting a few seconds longer when the traffic light turned green, scanning side roads, checking and rechecking the rear-view mirror, and rubbernecking to see past blind spots.

As we neared the end of our day and our errands, I began to think that the morning’s thought must have been my wild imagination after all. Then, as I slowly ventured into an uncontrolled intersection on a residential street, a red sportscar came barreling towards us from the right. I slammed on my brakes as he sped by, scraping his driver’s side quarter panel across my front bumper. He never stopped.

I remember sitting there stunned. If I had been going at regular speed, we would likely have been hit broadside. But the words that morning had made me cautious all day. And for many weeks after, the streak of red paint on my black bumper reminded me of God’s extraordinary direction and protection.

Like others who have written here, I’ve had multiple experiences when I’ve felt God’s extraordinary direction. Not all of them have been as dramatic as this story. Some have been a quiet obedience to the still small voice, with nobody to witness it but Him. But all of them together have affected my writing, because they have taught me how important it is to listen. 

These days, more than ever before, I try to listen for His direction before I sit down to write. What is it that He wants me to say? Sometimes I head into my writing day with a clear idea of what that is, and other times it’s not until I actually begin that it becomes clearer.

Then, I try to listen while I write. As the words and ideas flow onto the page, some feel right and some don’t. I take that as God's direction.  

Finally, after it’s written, I “listen” for a sense of peace about it. When peace is there, then I’m pretty sure it has His okay.

This “listening” for His direction in my writing is a practice I’m still trying to make a habit. Many days I forget and fail to do it. It's a conscious act that I regularly need to remind myself to do. 

I really think God directs us all the time but we - at least, I - don't always recognize it. My responsibility is to listen.  

One more story to reinforce that thought ...

This is a true account of how my daughter received God's extraordinary direction through her four-year-old son. She’d been misrepresented and falsely accused by a superior in her business and was enraged and upset as she headed out for a walk, pushing her one-year-old twins in the stroller. Little Man, walking beside her and completely oblivious to her feelings, suddenly asked, “Mommy, can you tell me a story about a little girl named Grace?” 

We have only to listen.


Joy lives in Edmonton with The Cowboy and Babe. Find her joy infused view of the world at Scraps of Joy.


  1. Joy, this is such a vivid illustration of why we need to always be listening for the Spirit's still, small voice, and obey it. I am so thankful you listened so you and your children were spared tragedy.
    I too, am developing the discipline of praying and listening for God's direction before writing. Sometimes He directs me to a completely different topic or theme than the one I was thinking of. I love the way His inspiration causes the words to flow and how there is power in the take-away value. I look forward to reading more of your God-directed writing!

    1. Valerie, it’s true. He sometimes directs to a completely different topic than what I thought I was writing about. “Power in the take-away value” ... I love that.

  2. What an amazing story! God is good!

  3. This story gives me tingles, Joy! I'm so glad you were okay, and also that you listened to God's voice! What self-discipline it takes for us to be still and listen, but it's always worth it!

    1. Yes so true, to sit and listen instead of plunging right in to do what I love - writing - takes discipline indeed. But as you say, so worth it!

  4. WOW! Amazing story, beautifully written!

    You mention about learning to listen before you write, while you write, and after you write. This is my heart yearning too. I'll be thinking of your lovely example when I next sit to write. Thank you, Joy. xo

  5. Thank you Brenda. It doesn’t always come naturally does it? But I hope I will practice listening enough so that it does someday become a regular habit.

  6. Thanks, joy, for your good reminder that we need to have our dials set on “ready-to-listen” at all times. God’s message kept you on alert that day and kept you and your children safe. Wonderful! I also love the story of how God used your young grandson to deliver a message to his mom. On several occasions, I’ve had a story mapped out in my head or even on the computer, when I just “know” I’m supposed to write something different. I do pray about my writing, but I realize more and more that I must do this all the time. Consistently praying about my writing will keep me in God’s loop, rather than the other way around.

  7. Thanks, Joy. What a reminder to listen to that still small voice of God at all times. So thankful that you do. Blessings on your day.


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