Teach me your paths!

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.

Luke 1:76-79

His purpose in coming … to guide our feet into the path of peace!

I enjoy the work of  Parker Palmer. In his book, Let Your Life Speak, he talks about how we respond to closed doors. An oft-quoted quip is, “If God closes one door he’ll open a window.”  But Palmer wisely points out that sometimes instead of looking for the opened path, we pound on the closed door as if by our battering we could open it.   In so doing, we don’t honor the guidance that God is providing.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Psalm 25:4, 10 NRSV

Then I ran across this poem online. I like the poem because of the analogy it makes to dancing, which was never one of my better skills, even though I love to twirl around the living room floor! The poem raised the question, “Am I trying to batter down the closed door, am I hanging back along the wall, the proverbial “wallflower,” or am I dancing with my God?”


When I meditated on the word
GUIDANCE, I kept seeing “dance” at the
end of the word. I remember
reading that doing God’s will is a lot
like dancing. When two people
try to lead, nothing feels right. The
movement doesn’t flow with
the music, and everything is quite
uncomfortable and jerky.

When one person realizes and
lets the other lead, both bodies begin
to flow with the music.
One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge
to the back or by pressing
lightly in one direction or another. It’s
as if two become one body,
moving beautifully. The dance takes
surrender, willingness, and
attentiveness from one person and gentle
guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word
GUIDANCE. When I saw “G,” I thought of
God, followed by “u” and “i.”
“God, “u” and “i” “dance.” God, you,
and I dance! This
statement is what guidance means to me.

As I lowered my head, I
became willing to trust that I would get
guidance about my life. Once
again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is
that God’s blessings and mercies be upon
you and your family on this
day and everyday. May you abide in Him
as He abides in you.
Dance together with God, trusting Him to lead
and to guide you through each
season of your life.

I hope you dance!!!

~ Anonymous

Joseph Gilmore is the author of the much-loved hymn, He Leadeth Me. He was preaching from Psalm 23 in 1862, one of the darkest hours of our country. He came to the phrase in the Psalm, “He leads me,” and His heart and soul were captured once again by the truth that God has ordained our paths, and He leads us.

God’s leadership is the one significant fact in human experience, that it makes no difference how we are led, or whither we are led, so long as we are sure God is leading us.

Joseph Gilmore

Advent is about God coming not just to show us a path we might take, but to direct our steps on the path of His choosing!

Do you hear it?
Do you know it?
That still small voice –
The voice of love
It’s calling you
Calling me, come –
To forests deep
Through waters calm
Down sunlit paths
In deep, dark pits
But always safe
Our leader’s care
His grip, fierce love
For us, his sheep
Good Shepherd, he.

~ Original, 2009

Father, we worship and praise you. You are a good God, your gentle presence ever providing grace. You are our light shining in the darkness. Guide our feet in the path of peace and blessing. Teach us your paths, paths of steadfast love and righteousness. Move us, Lord, to choose your ways! Help us to cling to you, to follow your direction, and allow you to lead! Amen.

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