The Way Forward

“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

I have been praying this psalm all week and didn’t know it. Following the storm, and walking into the disaster-torn areas, where wreckage and waste define the landscape and sometimes the hearts of those who now are sifting through it, I have been asking God this question: What do you want me to do? But as I began to write this, I realized this prayer was not just for today’s crisis, but for everyday, and every burden, and every time we feel overwhelmed. Psalm 25 is the way we start each day, the way through, and the reason to continue.

Lord, there is so much to do!

There is so much to do, one can get lost and turned around. It feels like someone has blindfolded me, and spun me three times, and asked me to walk forward, with purpose, efficiency, and grace. But eventually, I just sit down, with my head spinning, asking God what do you most want me to do?

There is so much need, but also plenty of help. Many, with a myriad of talents and resources, are deployed for specific, vital tasks. As Christians, we are each endowed by the Holy Spirit with unique aptitudes and artistries that equip us to be effective and uniquely suited to serve in times like these. “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good… and he gives these gifts to each one just as he determines.” ( I Cor. 12:7,11). It is a gift to us to give away what has been born into us – the thing we do the best. Oh how we want to! Frederick Beuchner once said that God’s call to us is the exact point where his greatest need intersects our greatest desire. When we listen in our heart to what God calls us to and then step out in faith, we manifest the Spirit in our community. We are already seeing it! Lord, show us the path, so that your Spirit may be known to your people, to this community, to the world. Let us offer what we do best.

Lord, there is so much need!

By faith, and not certainty, most of us will venture forth, hoping that we are bringing the Holy Spirit with us. (We are.) Most of us will find ourselves in situations for which we feel unprepared. What will the day hold? Can I do the job? Can I keep this commitment to serve others before myself? So the psalmist leads us in another simple prayer: Teach me! I have a lot to learn about God’s kingdom, and his ways, and the blessing that comes when his people are united in love and service to each other. What does his kingdom really look like in action, and can I do it? Teach me Lord, what it is you want me to know about who you are and who your people are. Show me a more excellent way. (I Cor. 12:31)

Lord, I am sorely inadequate.

I know that any one effort on my own hardly makes a difference. I thank God for the final verses of this psalm that remind us that God is always with us and is saving us, moment by moment, each and every day. He reminds us that he has already prepared us in advance for every good work, and has equipped us for that which he has called us. (Ephesians 2:10, I Thes 5:24)

I am also grateful that so many are here along side me, and that the combination of our individual gifts creates a greater whole. We were always meant to function as a whole. I believe God will teach us this truth, as we step into his call. It is not our sole responsibility to carry the burden alone, but we do it together, strengthened by God’s Spirit. So we lean on the psalmist’s faith and believe that God is here, and that he saves.

All day long, Lord, we will put our hope in you, the God who saves. Whatever the day holds, and however I fare, we will hope in you.

“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

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