I put my hand on my husband’s arm to quietly stop him. “Look,” I whispered as I pointed to the yard we were passing by. At the side of the house were a mother duck with ten or twelve fluffy ducklings walking in a line behind her.
The previous week I enjoyed seeing this family in a nearby creek. Now I was concerned to see them three streets away and dangerously close to a busy street.
“You’re going the wrong way,” we said. “There’s no water here.” I wished there was some way to redirect these waterfowl in order to keep them from harm.
The ducklings trusted their mother so obediently followed where she led. I’m fairly certain she had no intention of leading her babies into danger. She probably lost her way and was trying to find her way back.
Have you ever been led astray by a well-meaning person? Or, perhaps you’ve been the one who unintentionally led one or more in the wrong direction. No matter how well-intentioned, we all lose our way sometimes.
I know I have sometimes wondered how I ended up so far from where I wanted to be. Was I following blindly without paying attention?
To keep this from happening I’ve learned to pray and seek guidance from the Lord. He knows where I should be and how to get me there. Only one leader can be counted on to never lead me astray. That is why I choose to follow Jesus.
[The Lord says,] “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8 GWT)
I was drawn to the lighthouses we saw on our travels. From the shores of the Great Lakes in Ontario to the coastline of the Maritime Provinces, every lighthouse was photo worthy.
There was something about these structures that captured my imagination. Most were operational but I also wanted to stop and admire ones that were purely for decoration.
The distinct tower shape, topped by a lantern area at the top is easily recognized as something to help ships navigate safely through treacherous waters.
The symbolism in this runs deep. To many, lighthouses are seen as showing us how to navigate through the rough waters of life. They speak of safety and security in the face of adversity and challenge.
Maybe that is why I was drawn to them. Even the well-weathered structures with peeling paint held an attraction.
They reminded me that, no matter my age, I have the ability to make a positive impact. A lighthouse doesn’t rush around, attempting to save people. It stands still and shines a beacon of light to illuminate the darkness. That is its great power.
Jesus is my personal lighthouse. He keeps me safe and secure no matter what storms challenge my life. I never have to walk in darkness when I can look to Him to guide me. His light fills me and equips me to reflect that to those around me. In that way, I can be a beacon that points people to Him.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)
Getting up in the morning seemed hard for me during high school years. The days often felt long—an hour bus ride beginning and end of the day, then farm chores or sibling care, and two hours of homework. My energy often flagged by the end of the week, and I could barely get out of bed.
Mom was up each morning to get our breakfast ready. My sisters and I only had to sit down and eat before catching the bus. Mom even set the kitchen clock five minutes fast. Enter a recurrent dream about missing the school bus, always near the end of summer.
In the dream, I’d be part way out our country lane, and the school bus would come. Usually the driver saw us coming, and he’d wait, but in the dream, the driver never saw us, and he’d go right by. I could never run fast enough.
One school morning, I hit the snooze button once too often and really did miss the bus. Dad would take me, but I’d have to wait until he was ready. He got me there in time, enough to grab books from my locker and get to my first class.
It took only once to realize how that extra ten minutes of sleep messed with my day. I had to make the effort to be up on time—that was my responsibility.
We can ask God for help, yet we need tomake an effort too. Solomon asked for direction to rule his kingdom (1 Kings 8); he still had to do the hard work to make it happen. In the same way, we can ask for guidance, then we must set our mind and body to the tasks before us.
Carolyn R. Wilker is an author, editor and storyteller from Ontario. Reading came easily in primary school, and she was hooked on books and words.https://www.carolynwilker.ca/
During a walk on a frosty day, an unusual sight was seen. The pond was almost frozen over. Ice started around the shoreline and was reaching towards the centre. There, huddled together in the small area of remaining water, swam a few geese.
“Why hadn’t they flown south yet?” I wondered. It was only a matter of days before the ice would completely cover the pond. They were certainly leaving things until the last moment.
The scene made me think of the number of times I’ve acted like a silly goose. Signs of an impending freeze in my life have been ignored. If I don’t acknowledge what’s happening around me, maybe the trouble won’t materialize. After all, there’s no immediate danger so I may not have to take action.
This type of attitude has not served me well. Often the reason I put off making a decision is that I’m not sure which direction to take. What if I make the wrong choice? I fail to realize that making no decision is still making a decision!
I don’t know what the future holds but I do have a personal relationship with the One who does. God has promised to teach us what to do. I just need to call out to him in prayer and listen carefully for his response.
With this kind of power available to me, not to seek his guidance would make me as silly as those geese.
The Lord says, “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8 GWT)
My husband and I recently attended a performance in an outdoor amphitheatre. We were searching for our seats when a helpful usher said, “Do you know where you’re going? Can I help?”
I thought we were close to our seats so wasn’t sure we needed assistance. Her guidance, however, proved to be very helpful.
We were seated close to the main walkway and observed this scene repeated numerous times as other struggled to figure out the seating arrangement.
Many patrons gratefully accepted assistance. A few surprised me by snapping, “I’ve got no idea.” as they carried on, not stopping to receive directions. Help was there and they refused it, preferring to keep walking in frustration.
I wondered how often foolish pride has kept me from accepting help when I needed it. Sometimes I just need to be pointed in the right direction. Other times I require more guidance. Either way, I won’t get the help I need unless I stop and ask.
There is one who always knows in which direction I should be headed. Not only does God know where I’m going, he is willing to show me the best way to get there. Sometimes he does this by sending someone to walk beside me. Other times he gives me the wisdom needed to find my way.
All I need to do is pray and then stop long enough to listen to the answer.
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:21 NLT)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5 NIV)
I don’t want to walk.” the little girl said. “Carry me.”
“I’ll carry you this time, but next time you need to walk.” replied the grandma.
The little girl looked into her grandma’s eyes and said, “But I like it when you carry me.”
The grandma lovingly replied, “I like it when I carry you, too, but you’re a big girl now and have to learn to walk on your own.”
As I watched this scene unfold, my relationship with God came to mind. When I am weary he carries me until I can regain my strength. In his loving arms, I feel safe and cared for.
Then comes the time he encourages me to walk on my own. I don’t feel ready; can’t you just keep carrying me? He lovingly tells me, “You’re a big girl now. You can do this.”
It can be scary but the support and guidance of God will give me strength and confidence. It’s time to trust him and take those steps. I am confident he will be there to pick me up if need be. How can I be certain of this? That’s the way God treats all of his precious children.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 NIV)
“I feel like I’m doing something wrong when I step on the other side of this line.” I said to my husband.
We were walking along a grassy path and the sun was hitting a tall chain link fence at just the right angle to create a duplicate fence shadow.
The line I was walking beside represented the top of the fence. Unsure which side to walk along, I was, in effect, straddling the fence!
“What a good example of life” I said. Metaphorically I sit on the fence, to keep from making decisions. I wouldn’t want to come down on the wrong side and offend anyone. It would be embarrassing to make a mistake by choosing the wrong side.
When I walked above the fence line it didn’t seem right. Unconsciously I adjusted my pace to follow the line. To do this I had to look down, to watch my steps. This meant I wasn’t looking up at what was around me.
Did it make a difference which side of this line my feet fell on? Not at all.
I was doing what I’ve always done, not veering off of the straight line before me. By watching my feet and not looking up I was trusting in my own limited knowledge and not looking up to the Lord for guidance.
The Lord has promised to instruct and teach me in the way I should go. My focus needs to be up and on him. His counsel will always direct me to the line he wants me to walk.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8 NIV)
The wise counsel GOD gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart. Day and night I’ll stick with GOD; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go. Psalm 16:7-8 (The Message)
“Look at all the little fish,” my husband said. The long narrow tide pool was teaming with streaks of silver about the length of my little finger.
As we walked farther we could see the water get shallower until it dried up completely. Now we understood why all of these fish were heading in the opposite direction. They needed to find their way back to the safety of deeper water.
On our return we discovered that most of the fish had stopped in the middle of the tide pool where the water was deepest. Only a few seemed to be determined to get back to the sea.
I thought of the times I have only done enough to get out of immediate danger. No thought was given to the future if everything was comfortable at the present moment.
I watched fish turn back as the depth of water decreased slightly. It was still deep enough to continue but the level had changed. I wanted to cheer them on and let them know how close they were to the spot where the tide pool joined with the sea.
When left to my own devices I wonder how often I have turned back just before I reached my goal. I am unable to see what is in store for me ahead. That is why I trust Jesus to guide me. He is the one who sees the beginning from the end.
You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence. (Acts 2:28 NLT)
While driving the long, flat roads of the Canadian Prairies I frequently saw tumbleweeds rolling across the road. Some would make it into a neighbouring field but many others got caught on the barbed wire fences that bordered the highway.
Wikipedia describes tumbleweeds as a structural part of the above-ground anatomy of a number of species of plants. Once the plant is mature and dry it detaches from its root or stem, and tumbles away in the wind.
This made me think of times in life I have detached from my roots and tumbled along aimlessly. With nothing to hold me down I was free to go where the wind might take me. It also meant I had no direction and could end up stuck in places I hadn’t wanted to be.
A better choice is to keep my roots firmly anchored in The Lord. When I mature in my relationship with him, I will not become dry and detached. He promises to guide me and satisfy my needs like a well-watered garden. No longer will I be like a tumbleweed.
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11 NIV)
I was being careful of my footing that morning. The tide was in, forcing us higher up the beach than normal. My eyes were focused on where to safely place my next step to avoid slipping. As I picked my way over rocks, shells and sandbags.
Ahead of me I realized my husband had come to a stop. When I started to look up to see why, a shadow just above caused me to duck. My head narrowly missed the base of an overhanging deck. I had been aware of the wall beside me but not the danger looming slightly higher.
This was a vivid reminder of what can happen when I focus only on my next step. I become so self absorbed that I am unaware of dangers that are right in front of me.
By starting each day in prayer, asking for God to lead me, I am looking up for direction. He knows the difficulties I will encounter and will guide me accordingly.
Sometimes he will enable me to avoid them and in other situations will walk with me through them. In either case, my life improves when I practice looking up to the one who has promised to take hold of my hand and help me.
I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand and say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid; I will help you.’ Isaiah 41:13 GWT