“Though God promises to lead us in the way we should go, we must daily ask ourselves, ‘Am I following as he leads?'”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 28, 2022
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:17-18, ESV
In our heart of hearts, each of us longs to live a meaningful and good life. When we reach our final days upon this earth, we want to look back upon the years we lived and believe that they were lived to the fullest, given to noble pursuits and in some small way impacted the world for good. And yet, in truth this will not be the reality for many of us.
The gift of freedom means we are at liberty to choose to live a multitude of stories and to act upon wildly divergent values and desires, some leading us into places of peace and righteousness “like the waves of the sea” (Isaiah 48:18), yet many more that only contribute to the brokenness in the world and in the lives of those we love. Since we are prone to believe that we are cast in the starring role of the story of life, it’s easy to assume this story is defined by courage, honor, and virtue. Yet this is not a given, and without attentiveness to the values that shape and mold our stories, we run the risk of reaching the end of our days having passionately pursued our own story, leaving Christ and his kingdom behind in the process.
Though God promises to lead us in the way we should go, we must daily ask ourselves, “Am I following as he leads?” Have I taken concrete steps to orient my life to his will and the living out of his commands? If so, then today’s prayer is for continued faithfulness and the courage to stay the course. If not, then regardless of your age or circumstances, an invitation lies before you to take a first step and make a start in this direction.
Of course, all we are able to do is listen and obey. We cannot manufacture or manipulate the situations or circumstances of our lives. We are unable to guarantee any outcome or control the future. As Isaiah reminds us today, God leads and brings about his purposes in our world and lives. It falls to us to pay attention and get in line. Or, as St. Jerome beautifully puts it, “It is for us to make a beginning: it is for God to bring it to fulfilment. It is for God to call: it is for us to believe. It is for us to will, or to refuse: but this ability is only ours by God’s mercy.”
Father, whatever we may be facing today, we place our trust in you and resolve afresh to take a step towards your kingdom and to live in the goodness of your story, today and for the rest of our days, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What does it look like for you to “make a start” today?
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