Life is full of pathways and some are the wrong way. Knowing how to choose your pathways in life is critical. I remember when my wife, Rhonda, and I were in Ft. Worth, Texas for a conference. We were newly weds having only been married about a year. You know, young and in love and thought we knew all about life. One day, during the conference, Rhonda laid out by the Hotel roof-top pool a bit too long and didn’t use any sunscreen.
By nightfall she was miserable. She was sunburned so badly she stayed in our room in misery while I attended the evening service. When I got back to the room, she was in such pain I knew I had to go out and get her some kind of medication. It was late and the Hotel gift shop was closed. So, off I went into the big city of Ft. Worth, in search of a store where I could find medicine for my suffering wife. The problem was I had no idea which way to go.
We were in the downtown area and I knew it had a reputation for crime, especially late at night. Earlier, in the daytime, we drove past lots of boarded up buildings and saw some pretty rough people; people I didn’t really want to run into late at night.
Life is kind of like that for everyone. Before you life lies like a big city with many roads. But which way is the right way? Which paths are safe? Psalm 25 is a prayer of Jesus, as He intercedes for the church (the Israel of God, v. 22). In verse 10, the Psalmist proclaims ALL the paths of the Lord are steadfast and true, for those who seek His covenant, and keep His truth.
The Psalmist begins in verse one by “lifting up” his soul to the Lord. Once he is perfectly seeking God from his inner being, he continues by asking the Lord to teach him, “Thy paths”, and lead him in “Thy truth”. The whole psalm is a prayer for guidance and protection offered up from a contrite heart. The Psalmist (David) knows sinfulness and calls on the mercy of the Lord. In this we see Jesus (himself sinless) teaching us how to pray and seek out the right paths in life.
As I started out for help that night I decided it was safer to drive out of the downtown area than to walk around hoping to find a store still be open. However, my first mistake was not asking directions. I’m sure a hotel clerk would’ve been happy to give them, if I’d only asked. What is it about us guys who think asking directions is a sign of weakness?
I’m not sure why I didn’t ask directions that night. I think I thought that in Wichita, Kansas (home) you can drive a mile in any direction and find a Quick Trip convenience store open 24 hours – but not in Ft Worth. The path I chose that night was definitely the wrong way. I drove and drove and saw no all night Quick Trips, not even a 7-Eleven. All I saw was boarded up and run down houses, and stripped cars on cinder blocks. I was in trouble, and I definitely didn’t want to stop and ask for directions.
In hindsight, perhaps I should have turned around and went the exact opposite direction. That’s what we need to do when we realize we’re lost in sin. We need to repent, which means turn around and go the other way. It was a time before cell phones and GPS and I wasn’t at all sure I could even find my way back to the Hotel – but I couldn’t stop. Rhonda needed help.
Eventually, I found an all night store with bars on the windows, even the cashier was behind bars. I wish I could tell you I remembered Psalm 25 where it says:
15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn thou to me, and be gracious to me; for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart, and bring me out of my distresses… 20 Oh guard my life, and deliver me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in thee
But, I didn’t. In my fear I said a quick prayer, something like, “Lord, don’t let me die here, Rhonda really needs this medicine”, then I got out of my car and went inside.
I did get back to the Hotel with some medicine for Rhonda. The Lord was steadfast and true, and redeemed me from all my troubles that night (v.22), and he has every day since. If you’re sensing you’re going down a wrong path in life, remember the steadfast love of the Lord never changes. He will be faithful to show you the right way – if you’ll stop and ask Him for directions.
image credit: http://enclave.entropymag.org/category/opinion/