O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
I think many of us in life forge ahead with a fair degree of confidence in our decisions only to find out when we are relatively far down the road that our choice was not correct. Perhaps the trail we took was the wrong one, or maybe we missed a turn. I do not know, but I do know that oftentimes in life we do not end up in the place we set out to go. It makes me wonder about how we read the signs along life’s trail. It seems to me most of us are not very good at it.
I know I was not on that day in Texas. My problem in that instance was overconfidence. I was so certain that I knew where I was I paid little attention to the reality of my path. And this brings me to the little nugget buried in Psalm 25, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.” There you have it. Oftentimes we are looking for the wrong thing. We are seeking “our way in the world,” or walking “our own path,” with little concern for the trail-markers God leaves along the way. Sometimes they are gentle nudges, sometimes they are flashing neon signs, but all the same we humans are adept at missing them. Scripture, God’s ultimate trail-marker, is fairly clear. Love God. Love Neighbor. Love Self. Love Enemy. These ideas are both articulated by Jesus’ teaching and embodied in his life, death and resurrection. Yet we miss them all the time. Often we fail to consider any of them as we choose which path to walk.
When I was lost in Texas I ended up in the right place eventually. I was never that worried, it’s not THAT big of an area. Sadly life is not like this. We can definitely end up in the wrong place. We would be wise, whatever our stage of life, and whatever challenges lie ahead of us, to remember these words. “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.” The good news for us is that there is no place on this trail where God is not present with us; we need only to learn to see the path.
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for your presence in our lives. Today we humbly ask that you guide us in your ways and teach us your path. We consider the big decisions and challenges in our lives, and we turn them over to you. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.