Brandon’s first reaction was happy anticipation, but something didn’t feel right.
“Mom!” Brandon yelled as he bolted into the house, “You’ll never guess what happened today at school!”
“Calm down, Brandon. What is it?”
“I got invited to go camping with CJ McNallie and his family!”
Brandon’s mother looked puzzled. “Who is CJ McNallie? You’ve never mentioned him before.”
“Oh, he’s new at school but already he’s one of the most popular guys and hangs out with the other popular kids. If I go camping with him I have a good chance of finally being in that group.”
“I don’t know, Brandon. That doesn’t sound like a very good reason to go camping. Do you know much about this CJ?”
“Well, no, not really. But he’s a cool guy. Please, Mom, I just have to go.”
Brandon’s mom still looked doubtful. “Well, let’s wait and see what your father says.”
Brandon waited impatiently for his dad to come home that evening. When he heard the door open, he rushed into the kitchen and began his appeal.
“Dad, I’ve been invited to go on a camping trip with a guy from school. His name is CJ McNallie. It would really be a lot of fun, and I want to go. Can I, please?”
“Slow down, Brandon. Who is this CJ? Have you talked to his parents? I’ll have to know a little more about this before I can make a decision.”
After discussing the matter at some length during dinner, Brandon’s dad finally called CJ’s parents and arranged a meeting with them to talk over the proposed plans. An hour later, the two of them drove to the McNallie home, and the decision was made. As they returned home, Brandon’s dad told him, “I think it will be all right if you plan to go. The McNallies seem like nice people and it would probably be fun for you.”
Brandon was really excited. He hardly slept that night, and the next few days were filled with planning.
At school Brandon found that he was being accepted into the group of popular kids. This is what he had wanted, but as the big day approached, he felt uneasy. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but the excitement he’d had was gone. In its place was a nagging feeling that he shouldn’t go.
I just don’t understand this, Brandon thought as he lay in bed one night. I want to go, I want to be friends with CJ, but something doesn’t feel right. Maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow.
The next day Brandon felt no different. In fact, that nagging feeling that he shouldn’t go was even stronger.
That evening Brandon’s mom received a phone call. Afterward she came into the living room where Brandon and his dad were reading. “That was quite a surprise.”
They both looked up. “Who was it, Mom?”
“The call was from my sister, Lori. She and her family are coming to visit us next weekend. They haven’t been here in years. I wonder why they decided to come now, it isn’t even summer vacation.”
“Mom, that’s the weekend I’m supposed to go camping!”
“I know Brandon. I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to ask you to cancel your trip. You haven’t seen your cousins in a long time. I know how much this trip means to you, but . . .”
“That’s okay, Mom. Maybe I’m really not supposed to go.”
“What do you mean, Brandon?”
“Well, ever since you said I could go camping with CJ, I have had a funny feeling about it, like I shouldn’t go. I just now realized that it was God speaking to me—for some reason He doesn’t want me to go. Now that Aunt Lori and Uncle Greg are coming on exactly the same weekend, I know for sure I’m not supposed to go. If God is saying no, even though I don’t know why, I guess I’d better listen.”
Brandon’s dad smiled. “I’m proud of you, Son, for coming to that decision. God sometimes uses a still small Voice inside us, as well as circumstances, to speak to us. He’ll bless us if we listen to Him.”
A week after the planned camping trip, as the family sat together at the dinner table, Brandon’s mom noticed that he was hardly eating. “What’s wrong, Brandon? Is something bothering you?”
“Well, sort of. I found out why God didn’t want me to go camping last weekend. CJ and the guy who took my place got caught drinking and smoking pot up there.”
“What about that group you wanted to be a part of? Are they all involved in things like this?”
“I really don’t know, Mom. But I’m going to go slower about getting mixed up with them. I have a feeling this may be God’s way of letting me know I shouldn’t be part of a group like that. And I want to listen if it’s God talking to me!”