Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Way That I Take

He knows the way that I take.”

I don’t. You don’t. Nobody else does.

In this world we see God’s specific purposes for us only dimly. Hopes rise only to fall again. Is this what God is doing? Maybe. Maybe. Uh, no … never mind … not that. Right, well, back to prayer …

“He knows the way that I take.”

The Journey of Life

The life of faith is regularly compared to a journey on foot. But we are walking without a complete map. We know what the destination looks like — we look for a city whose designer and builder is God — and the general direction in which that city lies, but the middle of the map is just a bit smudgy and indistinct. There’s a suggestion of mountains here, a valley there, a river to cross somewhere along the way, but what those obstacles will look like when we get there and what challenges these things may present to our passage remains mysterious.

Are these bumps on the map just foothills or is one of them Everest? Is that stream ahead just a few inches deep, or is it a raging torrent? Is that a shady vale or the Valley of the Shadow of Death?

No clue. We just keep going forward.

“But he knows the way that I take.”

The Moral Path

We find our path — if we’re doing it right, that is — by asking questions about the morality of what we’re doing. We come to a fork in the road, or an intersection where multiple possible directions are now in view. We don’t know which way to go. Ideally we don’t flip a coin, Google our horoscope, or consult the entrails of a chicken. We ask ourselves which route appears more pleasing to the Lord on the basis of our understanding of his word. Can we eliminate one or more options on the basis of what is unquestionably right and wrong?

Maybe. Sometimes that’s obvious. Sometimes it’s not so easy.

“I Do Not Behold Him”

Where is God in all this? For the Christian, there is no obvious pillar of cloud or pillar of fire to follow like Israelites in the wilderness. Job expressed his own uncertainly about what God was up to:
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,  
and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
 he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.”
Oh, he’s working alright. But what is he working exactly?

The ‘How’ Is Easy

We know how to walk. That part is clear. Walk in love. Walk worthy. Walk in newness of life. Walk according to the Spirit. Walk honestly. Walk as you were called. Walk by faith. Walk in good works. Walk as children of light. Walk circumspectly. Walk in wisdom.

Walk in Christ, ultimately. How to walk is about as well spelled-out as anything could be. But where to walk? Not so much.

“He knows the way that I take.”

Dead Wrong Again

I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought I knew what the Lord was doing in my life, and turned out to be dead wrong: Hmm, this could lead to that … Looks like an interesting opportunity here … Aha, THAT’s what this was all about!

Nope, nope and nope.

“But he knows the way that I take.”

Does it really matter if I know?

1 comment :

  1. Well, a really rhetorical question. Obviously you knew the way you were taking (and the converse - the way you did not want to take) because you are obviously not working hard at collecting discarded bottles and soda cans at the roadside or from your neighborhood garbage cans to redeem for the return deposit. So, yes, it is essential that you decide on a way to take and therefore will know. That does not mean that everything will go according to plan, but that is a different topic.