He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.Psalm 23:3b
The Hebrew word translated
a well-defined, well-worn trail. That indicates again how stupid sheep are, because even when the trail is well laid out, they still need a shepherd. They are still inclined to wander away, no matter how obvious the path may be. The shepherd knows the trails. He has been there before, and the sheep trust him.
I think the most anxiety-producing factor in the world today is uncertainty about the future. What is going to happen tomorrow, and the next day? There are decisions we must make that bear not only upon our own lives but also upon the lives of everyone with whom we are associated. My life touches my family and my neighbors and my business associates. We are constantly making decisions. How do we know that we are making the right ones? Decisions can be crucial and frustrating!
A classic story tells about a man undergoing basic training in the army. He was pulling KP and was given the assignment of sorting potatoes. There was a huge mound of them, and the mess sergeant told him to put all the bad ones in one bin and all the good ones in the other bin. He came back about two hours later to find the man just looking at one potato. There was nothing in the bins. The sergeant said,
What's the matter, don't you like the work? The soldier said,
It's not the work; it's the decisions that are killing me.
I often feel that way. We have to make countless decisions, day after day, which touch the lives of our children and our wives and husbands. We need wisdom. We need a shepherd. We need someone who knows the trails, someone whom we can trust. We all need a decisive word from someone who knows the way, and the Lord knows the way. But the question arises--
How can I discover His will for my life? May I suggest these steps?
First, submit wholeheartedly to the leadership of the shepherd. That is the basic attitude we must maintain. Unless we are willing to admit that we don't know the way through the wilderness and submit to His leadership, we will never find the way.
The second thing we must do is to obey what we know now to be God's will for us. Most of God's will is already revealed in His Word. We have to begin by obeying the truth that we have.
But what about other areas of life where the Scriptures do not give specific information? There we are led by the peace of God. As we spend time praying and waiting upon God, there comes a sense of peace, an inner conviction, about the correctness of a certain direction. The peace of God will umpire in our life and let us know what to do. When we move out on the basis of it, we discover that God supports and undergirds our actions and, through confirming circumstances, further strengthens our sense of peace.
Father, You have promised to lead me in paths of righteousness. Help me to be willing to follow, even when I don't understand.
The Good Shepherd does not drive His sheep. He tenderly guides them. What are two essentials by which we can discern His guidance?