Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Letting God Really Lead

Psalm 119:105 keeps coming back to me again and again throughout my life. No kidding! In my five-year-old Sunday School class, we were given 5 verses to memorize in a month and if we did so, we would be given a full-size Bible. I took that challenge, memorized those verses, and still remember them today. One of them was Psalm 119:105: Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Over the years, I have contemplated that verse many times. What strikes me most is that the lamp and the light are neither one spot lights. A lamp, especially in Biblical times, was an oil lamp, small and carried by hand from room to room. It could only light the small area where it was being held. Even now, to have a lamp in the room serves to light up the corner where it sits. We put a lamp by our bedside so we can read at night, but we do not intend to see clearly what is across the room.

“A light to my path” gives me the idea of a flashlight. The first overnight camp I went to as a youth was in the pines of southern Arizona mountains. The cabins were filled with beds and we had to go outside to the “bathhouse” to take showers and use the restroom. We took flashlights, but at night, the path to the bathhouse was still scary. The only thing that flashlight lit up was the next step we were taking. It did not shine bright enough to let us know if there were bears or other critters out in the trees. (There probably weren’t, but a young girl’s imagination can go wild!)

I have come to realize that no amount of my holding up that lamp or shining that flashlight out into the future is going to give me any more clear understanding of what is “out there” than the flashlight did at camp. What God asks me to do is trust Him for what is next. He shows me the very next step that He has provided for me. As I take that step, in faith, believing that HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS: the God Who Sees, He will then show me the next step, and the next, and then the next. And when I get to the end of that path, I will be able to see that HE has been faithful and taken me right where I needed to be!

If I had been able to shine that flashlight into the woods at camp, I may have seen raccoons, coyotes, bears, or even other campers heading in the same direction. I may never have stepped out of my cabin if I knew what was wandering around out there. But instead, I saw only the path to the place I needed to go. In the same way, God shows us only what we can process at the time. He takes care of what is “around” us and reminds us that if it were our business, He would tell us. (John 21:22)

So, the words of that first memory verse chime in with my first favorite hymn: Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to Trust and Obey!