Throughout the scriptures, one of the constant themes we read about is guidance. God leads Abraham to travel “to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) The Israelites are guided by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. The prophets are led and inspired by God to proclaim both blessing and warning to God’s people. The disciples leave their old lives behind and follow Jesus and help proclaim the good news. Paul travels from place to place, preaching, teaching, and helping to establish the church.
But guidance is only useful when it is paired with trust. In some of the same stories mentioned above, we can also read what happens when God’s guidance was not followed. Abraham took matters into his own hand – twice – to disastrous result. The children of Israel failed to trust in God’s promise and wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before entering God’s promised land. Even the disciples, who spent time with Jesus, sometimes failed to follow the path God laid out for them.
In Isaiah 58:11, the prophet says, “The Lord will guide you continually . . . you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water . . .” Even we can’t see the path ahead, or don’t understand the circumstances, God is still leading and guiding us. Isaiah was speaking to a people who were still in captivity, prophesying to them about how their lives would be in the days to come. And how would they make it to that place? By following the God who guides continually. The same God who invites us, every day, to follow. Friends, know that God leads us and guides us and gives us “water when we are dry, restoring [our] strength.”
God, we pray for the wisdom to follow all the ways you guide us and for the peace and the patience to trust you in all that you do. Amen.
Jay Locklear is the Church Communications Consultant for the North Carolina Conference