Read the passage below several times and let the truth inspire and empower you.
“All paths of the Lord are loving and faithful.” (Psalm 25:10)
Listening to God
Amy Carmichael put it this way: “All does not mean ‘all—except the paths I am walking in now,’ or ‘nearly all— except this especially difficult and painful path.’ All must mean all. So, your path with its unexplained sorrow or turmoil, and mine with its sharp flints and briers—and both our paths, with their unexplained perplexity, their sheer mystery—they are His paths, on which He will show Himself loving and faithful. Nothing else; nothing less.”
Talking to God
It is no secret that God walks with us. Maybe not the path we had in mind. Probably not the comfortable way. Not the fair, expected, or reasonable way. Not the particularly safe way.
He doesn’t promise a map. There is no projected ETA. He doesn’t promise a toll-free road, or even that we’ll be on a road at all. He probably won’t spit out verbal commands as timely and conveniently as our GPS. Sometimes the signs will be clear and obvious, while other times they will seem cryptic or non-existent. There will be extensive rerouting when we get in our own way and make a wrong turn. I don’t mean to spoil this for anyone, but I suspect we’re all in for a road block or two—or twelve. When we face these roadblocks and detours, when we are all out of hope, and faith, and fight, He hasn’t promised answers, or clarity, or understanding. He has promised Himself. His presence. His hand. He has promised to walk with us.
What kind of path is God walking with you at the moment? What are some of the roadblocks or detours you’ve faced together? How has He shown you signs of His presence along the way?
Responding to God
How do we respond to our mysterious, ever-changing, complicated paths? We follow Him so closely that we run right into Him when He stops, and keep stepping on the back of His heel. We remember that for everything He doesn’t tell us, He has told us the one thing we need to know: Don’t be afraid. It ends well. All paths of the Lord are loving and faithful. Learn that trust has nothing to do with understanding, that the path we least want to travel might be the one we need the most, and that the paths of grief and pain and suffering will not be dead ends. Learn how to be a light even in deep, dark places. Learn that keeping track of where we are and where we’ve been matters. Telling our stories matters. Sharing our hope matters. Because on our paths, if we keep our eyes open, even in unexplained darkness or pain or grief—we will always find Him, loving and faithful still.
Surrendering to God
This may be one of the instances when God is not-so-interested in our good ideas, when He pries our hands off the steering wheel and holds onto us the way a parent holds onto a child while crossing a busy street. He pulls us along when necessary, even drags us a bit if we are being especially stubborn, and finally carries us when we just can’t go on anymore. He patiently waits while we get stuck and then pulls us out of the mud. He doesn’t leave us behind. He doesn’t let us stay where we were before. Without this, we wouldn’t stand a chance.
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily carries us.” (Psalm 68:19)
By Kristen Struyk
A HISTORICAL SIDEBAR
“We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ [Acts 4:12]. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of him’ [1 Cor 1:30]. If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing” (John Calvin). Many Reformers taught that Jesus is not only the source of our justification (being declared righteous) but also our sanctification (being made holy). Discipleship, or following Jesus, is done through faith alone, by grace alone, and in Christ alone.