September 19, 2010
Is It God We Desire, or a Particular Path to God?
“Uphold my steps in Your paths, That my footsteps may not slip” (Psalm 17:5).
If we seek God sincerely, we’ll be willing to get to heaven by any path that God deems best for us. But this willingness is not always easy. When the way home begins to look uncomfortably different from the path that we’ve pictured in our minds, the result may be resentment, if not outright rebellion. At times like these, we must learn to love God for God’s own sake and not insist on any particular set of conditions as we journey toward God.
The Psalmist prayed, “Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133). Such a prayer must be our own. And in our higher moments, we know that this is indeed what we desire: we want God to uphold our steps in God’s paths. We want God’s wisdom to supersede our own plans and preferences so that the greatest possible good is accomplished, not only for ourselves but for the world in which we live.
Certainly we must avoid any sort of demanding attitude toward God.
If we have envisioned ourselves living and serving God within a particular set of circumstances, that may be well and good. But if life unfolds according to a different pattern, we must still maintain our reverence. Before we start acting as if our “rights” have been infringed, we need to do a reality check.
Long‑term service to God requires flexibility, and most of us need to be more flexible in defining what our possibilities are. The good that God put us here to accomplish can be accomplished in more ways than we might think. We need to accept that there are numerous scenarios through which God could be glorified in our lives, and we must not be so wedded to one or two of these that we can’t see the value in others. Is it not obvious from God’s created world that God delights in variety? Let us not be so shortsighted or attached to “the way we always thought it would be” that we can’t accept something else for the sake of God’s glory.
“My goal is God himself, not joy nor peace, Nor even blessing, but himself, my God; ‘Tis his to lead me there, not mine, but his – At any cost, dear Lord, by any road!” (F. Brook).