Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5
A search of the word “path” in any concordance will find multiple listings. What’s interesting about this is that in most cases, the path is not talking about the literal road on which we walk. Instead, it refers to our lives. The path we’ve traveled is our past, the places we’ve been, the experiences we’ve encountered. We can look back fondly, or with regret, but in either case we are doing just that – looking back, without any want, need, or desire to return to places we’ve already been.
The real value of the path comes in what lies ahead. Every step taken, every lesson learned is designed to prepare us for our future; a future that God has meticulously crafted for us. The mere thought of this fills your heart and lifts your spirit unlike anything else. So with a past that prepares us to follow a path that God wants us to follow, how can we possibly fail?
What we must remember is that God describes our lives as a path, not a set of railroad tracks. If it were, we’d be all set – just move forward. The path would be assigned, giving us with no opportunity to venture away. Paths are laid out, but they are optional. You can step off and back on at any time.
Now this might not make sense, but go with me on this. I have watched my kids play cart and driving video games for years. The games have paths marked out for you, but you aren’t required to stay on path. Go on and off as you’d like. Go faster, go slower, and you will still get to your destination. So what’s the point of staying on the road? Ask any child who plays the game and they’ll tell you – there are things on the road (coins, power-ups, extra life) that you need to be successful. You can still get to the finish line by driving off the road, but if you miss the treasures on the path, you can never go back to get them.
In the same way, God leaves things on our path for us to get. Positive experiences, tough times, successes, mistakes, joys, sorrows – they are all gifts given to us to make us who God wants us to be. So while our path is given and directed by God, we must recognize the importance of the choices we make.
It’s the path He laid out for me. He guides, directs, and helps, but I must choose to walk it.