I remember the winter day that my uncle took me for a walk in the woods outside of our hometown. It was cold and the snow was deep. Uncle George is a tall man of well over six feet, so he easily stepped through the drifts. I was only nine years old and had short little legs.
Walking along in the guidance of a strong man was kind of a big deal to me. Not having a dad in my life, I remember longing for a man’s respect and so I was hopeful of impressing my uncle with my independence. He’d push through a snow bank effortlessly, so I’d try to blaze a trail right beside him to show him I was worth being along for the adventure.
It’s almost humorous how our sinful nature shows up in the most peculiar places, and at such a young age. Pride and independence tries to say, “I can do it on my own – I don’t need anyone else to help me.” Then fear comes in with torment and threats saying, “You’re a failure if you can’t do this! You’re not good enough. No one is going to love you if you can’t do this!” Pride has its roots in lies. Humility, on the other hand, is belief in the Truth and submitting to it.
I tried and tried to push through the deep snow. All the while, my uncle kept chatting with me. I was so busy laboring to keep up, I couldn’t really engage in the conversation with him. Finally I thought, I just can’t do this on my own. I can’t keep up. I’m exhausted! Then I looked at the path Uncle George was easily breaking and I stepped into it, right behind him. Whew!
Suddenly life got easy. I could hear everything he was saying and I was able to enjoy the conversation with this tall man I admired. My mind was no longer dominated by a battle of feelings condemning me for failing because I couldn’t keep up. Now I was enjoying what I really wanted - his attention along with a conversation that validated and lifted my self esteem. I started appreciating the winter forest and the joy of the entire experience.
Exodus 13:21 says, “The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way and by night...” Now hear the words of Psalm 5:8. “Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness….make Your way level before my face.” It has always been God’s Way to go before us, to make a way. I was the same boy on the path when it was hard, and then again, when it was easy. The difference was only my surrender on the inside to either walking in what my uncle had established for me, or not. I let go of my own idea of qualifying for what was good and instead, received the gift of what was already provided.
God has already provided for you and me. The path is already there. The Good Shepherd has already cut a path for you into 2023. What 9-year-old mental construct have you locked yourself into that would prevent you from ending your way, and going His Way? Psalm 23:3 “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.” Humility is letting go of your effort to make your own way and stepping into the Lord’s path. There were obstacles in 2022 but you can be assured, there will be obstacles in 2023, but don’t be afraid or discouraged. God has already provided a way. It’s THE Way! The Good Shepherd is always going before you and no matter what it looks like, there is a path forward. God is not arrived at this day, this year, unprepared to lead and help you. Welcome to the path forward in Jesus' Name!
Lord God, You are the Good Shepherd and You’ve got no problem going before me, and making the path straight. Day or night, You lead me perfectly. Father God, I let go of trying to do things on my own. I will walk in Your smooth paths that You have already made for me. I refuse to fall into the trap of worshiping the work of my hands. I worship You alone Father God, I worship You alone! In Jesus Name ... Amen!
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