Stay By My Side

Monday, March 15, 2021
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say"1 (Lyrics)

After a couple of days at the YWAM base in Belize, I wondered what I was doing there. The setting, despite its beautiful name, "Destination Paradise", was a challenge. High heat with humidity, mosquitoes, fire ants, sudden tropical rainstorms, and biting flies that came up out of the sand were the main issues.

The base itself was a cluster of crumbling, rusting, peeling, and decaying buildings. There was no air conditioning in the sleeping quarters, the toilets had to be handled carefully, and appliances and electricity kept breaking down. I was supposed to be a servant, but I didn't feel any joy in doing my job — one weekly task being baking for the whole student body and staff.

Did you really send me here, Lord? Was this just my own idea? I knew that my servant role was freeing the staff from doing mundane jobs so that they could focus on their interactions with the students, who were there to experience God. Even my tasks themselves had their challenges, like not having the right ingredients for the recipes that I was supposed to be making. I struggled with the weird, the uncomfortable, the strange, and the outrageous.

Tearfully, I asked the Lord, What do You want me to do here? He brought to my mind a picture of one of the staff, who had her dog with her. I was impressed at how Riley walked calmly and obediently by Brittany's side as she held the leash.

Just be like Riley, and follow obediently at your Master's side. If you stray, you will get lost, like the night Riley was lost in the jungle and barking in fear.

John 10:3b-5 – [The shepherd] calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won't follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don't know his voice. (NLT)

The word "follow" in Greek means "to be in the same way with", "to accompany, as a disciple."

Brittany's dog was trained to accompany her wherever she went, her mistress guiding her along with a leash. Riley felt secure, knowing just what Brittany expected of her. She knew Brittany, and stayed close to her.

I realized that the main lesson that I was to learn was to follow Jesus daily. My jobs on the YWAM base were vital and important. What was more important, however, was walking beside Jesus, my Good Shepherd. He had me close to Him with His hand on the leash, and all I had to do was to follow Him. Are you doing the same?

Prayer: Lord, help us to remember that following You daily is the most important thing. Help us not to worry about accomplishing things for You, but rather to remember to stay close to You so that we can hear Your voice. Thank You, Jesus, for being our Shepherd. Amen.

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About the author:

Alice Burnett <>
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good words, Alice.

    Good advice, thank you Alice and God bless!

    Thank you for great visuals to emphasize an important lesson. Keep well.

    Thank you, Alice, for a wonderful devotional today. We hope to hear from you again soon.

    Good morning, Alice,
    What an important lesson you are emphasizing. This is my manna for today and I will meditate on it. Thank you so much.

    Dear Alice,
    What a powerful lesson. So applicable, especially now, because I have asked God’s guidance in a current matter. Thank you for sharing.

    Yay, Alice for a well-told reminder. “I’m in the Efforts business, not the results business” is a saying that has always helped me. And so we go ahead, knowing that God is in what we do in faith (which is a lighted hallway, while trust is a darkened doorway…). Keep writing.

    Dear Alice,
    You create a very descriptive picture of “Destination Paradise” and a great example of how hard it is sometimes to do God’s work but how rewarding it can be when we figure it out. Thanks for sharing.

    Another good and inspiring devotional. Thanks so much, Alice. Please tell me what the letters YWAM stand for. I can guess but I’d like to be sure. Staying close to Jesus at all times can be a challenge. What you said about not worrying about what you accomplish is so true. May God bless your daily walk especially today as you are blessing others.

    Mercy, Alice, what a story. How long were you at the camp as a cook? Here I sit in Texas with the worst thing happening to us lately has been 0-degree weather, something which changed our lives for about a week.
    Thank you for your service and for writing today’s devotional.

    Last night, I watched the story of Gladys Aylward of the Inland Chinese Mission, on YouTube. What you wrote sounded like an extract from the documentary. Time and again, this tiny woman found herself facing an enormous challenge without any resources. Her voice is heard, no drama, just telling what happened at each new stage.
    It is wonderful that you found strength and wisdom for your needs!
    Many thanks, and blessings on your path,

    Good morning Alice. Thank you for this. It spoke to me because I along with my husband moved from Canada to a Portuguese island. He comes from here, but I believe God told me one morning now is the time to move there. We usually come just for the winter months and back in April we moved. I have had what I call peeks at what or why God said now is the time, but other times, I, too, ask, what do you want me to be doing here? So your comment about just be by the side of Christ and He will lead, very encouraging. Yesterday the pastor asked if I would give permission to give my email to a lady in the other island he lives on and pastors and comes here also. I said yes for sure. Apparently, she is looking for an English-speaking Christian to be able to talk with. She is from the Philippines and her husband from some northern part of Europe. Interesting what God has planned when we are open. God bless and have a great week.

    Thank you so much.
    I needed to hear this, to really focus on God’s plan for me. To see my role as an active caregiver of two, in His light as I grow older in this pandemic era.
    Following will be so much easier than running around doing endless tasks, trying to be perfect at all costs.
    Just thinking about it brings relief to a weary soul.
    Now I can slow down and do my tasks all in His love and comfort by truly following His lead.
    With God’s help I will not stray, but rest knowing that living out our lives in all circumstances are all in His plan.

    Really enjoyed. God, stay by my side!

    Thank you for your message! It is an important one!

    Oh, our Jesus! THANK YOU for this and for helping us through thick and thin!!!
    This devotional is SO timely for me!
    Keep writing/sharing as He leads you sister, I’m sharing it.

    Thanks for your devotional. I spent about 3 weeks at the YWAM base in Belize many years ago. I was part of a DTS in our mission tour from Ontario. Reading your account of life on the base took me back to fire ants, scorpions, and ticks and also to friendship and laughter and teamwork.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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