The other day during my bible study our facilitator opened up our study time with a prayer. Now this in itself is not unusual, we always open with a word of prayer. What I noticed were three words she spoke at the end of her prayer. After the prayer was over I leaned over and whispered to a friend that these words brought back a memory of my grandmother. I do not recall a prayer from her mouth that did not include these three words.
It is one of those regrets in life that I learned the hard way, I wish now I had paid more attention to those precious moments and possible written some of them down, but sadly I did not. The ignorance of youth and the illusion that we have all the time in the world is such a fantasy.
I have such a clear picture of my grandmother sitting at the head of our table and bowing her beautiful silver haired head to bless our meal. Her hands were so gnarled from arthritis that it was painful to look at them but none the less she would lift them and attempt to place them together, regretfully her permanently bent fingers were frozen in place, twisted and unsteady, but she folded them in from of her the best she could and she would begin to pray….Dear Heavenly Father……….lead, guide and direct us in all your ways……..Amen.
I have not been able to get these three words out of my mind. I began to dissect them, on first hearing they may all seem to be very similar in meaning. Lead, guide and direct, for all that is similar about these three words there are some very distinct differences as well.
To lead implies that I am willing to “be lead” this means that I am willing to follow, to yield my authority over to someone else. It also means that I have to give up my desire to be first. If I am being lead then someone else has to be in front of me.
To guide implies that there is someone who has knowledge and experience in charge. I would not think of taking a white water rafting trip or an African safari without an experienced guide along. Secondly it would be foolish to ignore the advice of a seasoned guide and wander off on my own, the dangers of walking in ignorance can lead to so many tragic circumstances.
To direct implies that the path has already been laid out, whoever is doing the directing is very familiar with the way and knows all the intricate turns and twists that you will face along the way. We have all experienced this, you print out the directions from either MapQuest or Yahoo Maps and you set out confidently placing your faith and trust in the technology to get you where you need to go only to find yourself hopelessly lost. If the directions you are placing your faith in are flawed or inaccurate then you will not reach your destination.
As I pondered these three words it is such a simple revelation on how much more simplified my life has become since I yielded my authority over to my Heavenly Father. As I have allowed myself to be lead by Him, the reigns of control that I held so tightly too, that at times had a strangle hold on me were loosed. I feel a sense of freedom that is hard to describe. It seems almost incongruent that along with the act of yielding the end result is freedom.
I also recognize that it is ok if I don’t know everything, it’s ok if I don’t understand the twist and turns my life takes, they may be painful at times, but I know that when God is in the lead it will be all right.
Another amazing character trait of God is His ability to multi-task. When I am following His lead for my life, this also translates to God having “my back”.
“I got your back!”, it’s an expression my accountability sister and I use, it means that we are watching out for each other, we are protecting each other, praying for each other and running interference or simply just being there when my strength has run out and I need to lean upon someone else for support.
God is leading me, but he also has my back!
I have also found that when I place all my faith and trust in Gods ability to guide me in all circumstance then I will never be lead astray. It is only when I strike out on my own, thinking that I know what I am dong without first consulting the one who know all things, well that is when I get into trouble.
Lastly, I have found that when I follow the directions, God’s Holy word, then I have all the tools I need at my disposal to make all the decisions in my life. I have the instruction manual, and it gives me all the direction I will ever need.
It will never be wrong, it will never give me inaccurate information, and I will never find myself lost and not know which turn to take as long as I am looking for my answers in Gods Holy word.
These three simple words may seem a bit old fashioned, but sometimes I need to be reminded of the unchanging and infallible character of God. I need to be reminded to let Him lead, guide and direct my path.
But don’t take my word for this,
EX 15:13 "In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.
EX 13:20 After leaving Succoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
PS 31:3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
PS 119:35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.