Monday, May 22, 2006

Promise for the Path


So I was thinking this morning about paths. About the paths our lives take. About how some of us wake up one day and think, Is this my life I'm living in? Is this the bed I chose to make?

I wondered these things while driving through the Arbuckle National Wilderness in Oklahoma. (That's it above.) Driving through that winding, rocky terrain had me thinking that some days I feel like a passenger in my own life. As if I'm looking in. As if I don't even recognize the winding, rocky path I'm heading down.

After all, it seems like life's specialty is throwing curves into our path, doesn't it? Whether they're the result of our own decisions and circumstances or someone else's decisions or circumstances, it sometimes feels like we are at the mercy of coincidences or split-second decisions that could have gone either way... that could fork our path in a million different directions.

I memorized Proverbs 3:5 when I was still wearing Bugs Bunny pajamas. You know it too, I'm sure: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

That verse pounded through my ears yesterday as I checked out paths through the Arbuckle Wilderness. You see, I think I've spent most of my life trying to lean on some of my own understanding. Sure, I say I trust. I say I acknowledge. But really, I lean. I lean on my own limited understanding and then spend time decrying my situation and lamenting that I "just don't understand". And let's be honest. We don't understand most of the time. People die, accidents happen, divorces finalize, churches crumble, and hearts break. We know it's a reality of life, but still - we don't understand.

But maybe that's just it. We don't understand. But God knew we wouldn't understand. And He so sent us a promise. A promise for the path. A 'trust Me and you will see' path promise.

No, my path isn't what I expected. Yours probably isn't either. So where do we go from here?
We go onward. We press onward, armed with the promise of Proverbs 3. We persevere onward, secure in the knowledge that if we trust and acknowledge the Lord and laugh at (instead of lean on) our own understanding, our paths will be navigable. Our paths will be straight.

I have this quote by Amy Carmichael written in the margin of my Bible near Proverbs 3:5. I've read it so many times I can repeat it while driving through my own winding, rocky paths in the wilderness:

"Your path with its unexplained sorrow or turmoil ... with its unexplained perplexity, its sheer mystery - it is His path, on which He will show Himself loving and faithful. Nothing else; nothing less."

Don't forget that. Don't ever forget that. It's your promise. Your promise for the path.

1 comment:

Kay said...

Thank you for this, today, (3-28-08). I'm in the middle of a job muddle and fighting it, trying, TRYING to leave it in God's hands, Trying to be a submissive wife and trying to be true to ME.

Your words helped.

Thank you.