I have been going through the Psalms this summer. I love Psalms. They are prayers. They are songs. They are gut wrenchingly honest, and I need them. I need to pray them. I need to sing them. More than anything, I need to digest them into my soul.
Psalm 25 for instance begins as a prayer, “To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.” And then it proceeds to describe God’s relationship with those who fear him. David concludes the Psalm pleading with the Lord for protection and deliverance.
David knows that God is his only hope and rescue from his enemies. He acknowledges his need for guidance from God.
“Make me 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 the day long” (Psalm 25:4-5).
What are the paths of the Lord, then?
“All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psalm 25:10).
God never leads us to a cliff and leaves us dangling on the edge.
There is this scene in Thomas Hardy’s book Far From the Madding Crowd where a young shepherd, Gabriel Oak, loses his sheep by an inexperienced sheepdog that drives the flock over a cliff.
This scene strikes me.
Sometimes we can mistakingly assume that God is like an inexperienced sheepdog who haphazardly leads us to dangerous cliffs only to abandon us at the edge.
But God is not a foolish sheepdog. For it is on the edges where he meets us. The edges are where we are least secure- the edges of finances, physical well-being, insecurities, grief, etc.
It is on the edges where we are humbled, and if we are truly humble our good shepherd will teach us. What does He teach us? He teaches us His paths. The thing about the paths of God, though, are that they don’t necessarily lead us to a place, but they always lead us to God. That is where me must land.
“For I wait for You” (Psalm 25:21b).
When we find God we find the true paths, the right paths, of His will. And then He blesses- “His soul shall abide in well-being, and His offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant” Psalm 25:13-14.
This is how God leads His children- not to a place, but to Himself.