Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Road We Travel

Earlier this week I ran across a quote from Thomas Merton. Merton (1915 – 1968) was a writer and Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. While I have never been there, I am familiar with the Gethsemani Abbey from my seminary years in Louisville. Here’s what Merton wrote (emphases added to aid readability):

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. BUT, I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

How comforting and encouraging! Many times we don’t have a clue where we’re going and we have to trust that God is leading us even when we can’t see, hear, or feel His presence. Sometimes we have to give up all that we thought we knew before in order to continue to follow God. Sometimes we thought we knew where we were going only to find that we ended up somewhere else by God’s hand. I wish the road were easier to navigate, but if it were, why would be need to rely on God’s leadership?

Case in point: me. I entered college thinking that God was leading me to major in Electrical Engineering. When calculus and chemistry (sorry, Dr. Gouge) proved too challenging for my 18-year-old brain, I changed my major to Speech Communication (I was going to use the EE in broadcasting, anyway). My studies were OK and I made decent grades, but they left my heart cold. Another change of major (and transfer from Auburn to Samford) led me to my heart (and to my soul-mate as well). Bottom line: At first I thought God was leading one way – and I had some wonderful experiences and made some wonderful friends along that way whose contribution to my spiritual growth was invaluable. In the end, I wound up somewhere vastly different from where I thought I was going at the start … but God’s hand was in all of it.
That’s enough to think about for now …


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