"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalms 119:105 (NRSV)
Back last fall, Janice and I took our dog Chace and our granddog Bella to DW Field for a walk. I had walked and ran there a few times, but as it turned out, I was not nearly as knowledgeable about the area as I thought. At some point, we made a left when we should have made a right and ended up at Stoughton entrance instead of Brockton, where we had parked. With dusk fast approaching and the trail canopied by the trees, it quickly started growing dark. Our little Maltese, Chace, tired from walking, needed to be picked up and carried for the final mile. In the near dark, we found--well, actually Janice found--the right trail back. Walking at double speed, we made it back to the car before the gates were locked.
I learned a couple of lessons that day. Know where you are going, and be prepared. We could have chosen to walk someplace we were more familiar with the area. If you are walking in unfamiliar territory, it is helpful to be prepared--you can tell I was not a Boy Scout. A compass, a trail map, and dusk only an hour away, a flashlight would all have been helpful.
What does our misadventure have to do with today's verse? Life is uncharted territory; we never know what each day will bring. We like sticking to the safe and familiar trails, but life is subject to change. God's word is our trail map. In the Bible, there are instructions and examples we can reference. Whether journeying in the familiar or unfamiliar, it is helpful to refer to the map. Frequently checking this map, we receive assurance we are where we should be. Finally, God provides us with a light and compass through the Holy Spirit. With these tools, we can establish direction and see the obstacles.
Loving God, we give you thanks for preparing us for the journey of life. You provide us with everything we need. We confess we sometimes ignore these gifts; instead, we choose to blunder around in the dark. God forgives our ignorance and disobedience. Please help us this day as we study your word to discern the path you want us to follow and be perceptive of your light. Amen.