I am deeply grateful to be married to a preacher. A while ago, my wife, Lisa, preached from Psalm 25, which includes the beautiful promise: “All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep God’s covenant and decrees.” She called on the congregation to remember that God’s paths are good (notice the plural: paths).
There can be more than one path in your life on which you may please God and live according to God’s ways. There can be more than one path on which you can serve God, do good with your fellow humans, and find deep meaning in life.
Lisa’s sermon reminded me of a story from Kirk Byron Jones. Kirk is a longtime, faithful Baptist minister. I had the pleasure of serving as Kirk’s colleague at Andover Newton Theological School where we taught Christian Social Ethics. In his book, Holy Play: The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing Your Divine Purpose, Kirk describes an episode in which he sensed God’s promise of presence with him as he faced a crucial decision.
At the time, Kirk was serving as pastor of a vibrant congregation, which he loved. He also had another opportunity presented to him that would move him in a different direction. While deciding between the options, Kirk sought God’s guidance in prayer as he walked along a river. He said:
I walked to a spot and began to silently voice my confusion and consternation. I remember, in the words of the gospel song of total surrender, laying it “all on the altar.” After a while, I stopped speaking, bowed my head, closed my eyes, and just stood still. My prayer became a posture of quite waiting. Having talked myself empty, I just stood there.
Some moments passed, and I finally opened my eyes. For the first time since coming to the riverbank, I noticed my surroundings; that’s when I saw them: two paths, just below where I was standing. I held them in view for as long as it took these words to sound in my soul: “Know this: Whichever path you choose, I will be with you.”
May you find the good life on various paths where you sense you are being led.