4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.Psalms 25:4-5 NIV
All of us have a life paved with circumstances, decisions and choices . Paved with our experiences. Each stone in our path reminds us of a step in our journey. Some of the stones we chose deliberately. We looked at the selection. We considered carefully each one. Then we chose the one we felt best suited for that particular season or time and carried it to our path. We set it carefully against the other stones. Fit it so it was aesthetically pleasing. We look back on those decisions with pride with a sense of accomplishment. With love and joy for what they have brought us. Perhaps this is how you approached your choice of college, career, or spouse.
Other stones were put there, or tossed there, without our approval. By a parent or other adult, or by a sibling or peer. Sometimes life puts a stone in our path that we would not have chosen. But we have to somehow walk across it anyway. These stones are outside our control.
Other times we choose stones that don’t really fit. We set them in our path and we move them around and convince ourselves that they fit, but they really, really don’t. When we look back on our past, we see those stones––incongruent, misshapen, too high, too low––and we remember that we could have chosen better. That we should have chosen better.
As Christians we hope the path that we lay is leading us to where the Lord wishes us to go. That’s the path that we can look back on and see how each stone has moved us closer to our relationship with Jesus. But often that isn’t the case. My particular path meanders. In places, it points to Jesus. In others it leads in the opposite direction. There are many ugly, misshapen stones. Many that are raised up or tilted sideways––more a rock pile than a paved path.
I am not saying that the only good path is a straight path. In fact, I believe God uses the curves and detours of our paths to reach others. We can overlay each of the stones, regardless of how they fit, if they are misshapen or discolored, or too high or too low, each of those stones can be overlaid with joy and all future stones can be set in a mortar mixed from joy.
This is the introduction to a talk I presented at my church’s Ladies Spring Tea yesterday afternoon. It was my first speaking engagement, and I think I spoke too long, but everyone said they liked the message. Maybe they were just being nice. Who knows? I’m going to publish the contents of the message here on my blog over the next three weeks, so this was installment one.
Let me know what you think. I’m anxious to hear your response.
I love your sentence, “God uses the curves and detours of our paths to reach others.” And I would add, “to teach us.” One of my favorite books is Hinds Feet on High Places.” It’s an allegory with this theme.
You are so right, Linda! He definitely lets us go headlong into the destruction caused by our mule-headed decisions, then comes along and picks us up, dusts us off, and with a fatherly arm around our shoulders, leads us back to the way we should have been going in the first place, his head bent to ours with soft words of instruction and enlightenment.
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