Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs3.5-6)
The path in the picture is clear to follow but it was fairly muddy in places and not the easiest to walk down. Now, you would have thought that if God was going to make a clear way for us to follow that he might also make the way easy, a bit like a ‘follow the yellow brick road’ experience. God promises to lead us, but he doesn’t promise that life will be easy.
I’m currently at a conference and we were reminded yesterday of Daniel who was taken from his home to a foreign land. He experienced life there as a servant and his belief in his God wasn’t shared by the inhabitants of that land. God was clearly leading Daniel but the path ahead was really hard. Daniel had every reason to turn away from God who appeared to have let him down, but Daniel clung to his faith and trusted in God and he became successful. It looked like everything had gone pear shaped but God was with Daniel and his people and God was at work
The path in the picture is clearly marked by tracks which is a great reminder that someone has gone before us. Daniel is an inspiration and a reminder of way that we can be confident and be honest about our faith in a land that can be hostile to the Christian faith. It is easy to go along with what everyone else is thinking or saying rather than having the courage to stand up for what we believe. Jesus is also described as the pioneer or initiator of our faith, the way we see him live and treat people in the gospels show us how we should live.
I was showing my son this picture of the path and explaining how it reminded me of the verses from Proverbs and all he could say was that the path was bent and not straight so it didn’t make sense. Teenagers are a great source of encouragement aren’t they! God making our paths straight really means that if we trust in him that he will make it clear which way we should go. Sometimes this means taking a leap of faith or setting off even when we can’t see the final destination. Having a bend in the track is really appropriate because God wants us to trust in him even if we can’t be sure how things will turn out. Daniel refused to eat the rich and luxurious food that was provided for him and at the end he was healthier than everyone else and the King was so impressed that Daniel was promoted.
Will we trust God even when we can’t see or understand everything about the way forward?