If my people would but listen to me. (Ps. 81:13)

DOCTORS ADVISE US, “Stay ahead of the pain.” After surgery, the painkillers prescribed last about four hours, and whether or not you feel pain when the timer rings, you’re supposed to take the medication. Once the pain starts again, it’s harder to control, and then it’s harder to sleep, harder to heal. Timing the meds helps us stay ahead of the pain. Still, how often has a doctor told me how to avoid pain or how to increase strength or how to heal, and I haven’t listened? It’s hard enough to seek out help, but how embarrassing to pursue help and then disregard that expert’s help. Not to mention pointless (and expensive on several levels!). We don’t listen, and then the pain or other negative consequence surprises us.

We can avoid that kind of circuitry and the painful consequences. If the doctor orders stretching and exercise to rehab that muscle, we can skip the anguish of disobedience and follow directions. God tells us that if His people would just listen to Him, then “how quickly I would subdue their enemies. . . . You would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Obedience does more than keep us ahead of the pain—it bears the sweetest fruit. Honey on whole wheat toast, coming right up.

So let’s listen up . . . doctor’s orders.

Write in a journal what you need to listen to today.

Jane Rubietta is the author of the deeper devotions Finding Life, Finding the Messiah, and Finding Your Promise (Wesleyan Publishing House). She also loves life, words, the outdoors, and garden-fresh tomatoes.