Choosing The Right Path
Redefining The Wilderness Amid Suffering
Delight In His Word
Choosing the right path, the Way to flourish, and thrive during open-ended seasons of suffering produces a flourishing and thriving pilgrimage.
The second stanza of Psalm 119 opens with a question:
“How can a young man keep his way pure?”
The Psalmist answers his question and then asks the Lord to help. In the meantime, you may be wondering what this has to do with your long season of suffering. Stay with me. I promise to tell you.
How can a young man keep his way pure? There are two paths, two choices: the wise course and the foolish path.
The wise course is one that is guarded or pure. It’s kept clear by removing debris and sin with the guidance of God’s Word. He is continually watching, maintaining, preserving, and seeking the path according to God’s Word.
“With what shall a young man cleanse his way? when he shall keep thy word.” from The Jubilee Bible
The foolish way is without God. Without his wisdom, his guidance, his Word. A foolish man pushes through with his strength; without the counsel of wisdom.
“Even with the greatest care, a man will go astray if his map misleads him, and even with the most accurate map, he will still lose his road if he doesn’t follow it.” Charles Spurgeon from The Golden Alphabet
Regardless of our circumstances, we must choose the right way, the narrow way. We must choose the holy way in the unholy hard.
Upon choosing the way of purity and wisdom, how does the Psalmist make his journey?
- He guards his way with the Word.
- Seeks God with his whole heart.
- The Psalmist stores the Word in his heart.
- Declares the Word with his mouth.
- He meditates on His precepts.
- Delights in His testimonies.
- He fixes his eyes on God.
- And, he does not forget the Word.
Realizing he needs help, he enlists God’s help to stay committed to his Word.
He prays or sings these words to the Lord:
- “Let me not wander from your commandments!”
- “Teach me your statutes!”
Notice the exclamation marks. I love the writer’s emphasis here!
Similarly, we have a choice in and how we move and live through our desolate places.
Do I want to thrive and flourish, or merely survive? How and what are the choices? Again, there’s the foolish way or the wise path.
The foolish way is to:
- Go in my solitary waning strength.
- Wallow in self-pity, choosing to look at my circumstances rather than looking to God.
- Be self-reliant, choosing to go without God.
Any of these will lead to self-destruction, anger, resentment, bitterness, or worse, a turning away from God.
The wise path:
- Utterly relies on God’s Word.
- Abides in and rests in God.
- Is committed to the Word.
- Rejoices and delights in the Word.
- He actively hides the Word in his heart.
Personally, I waffle moment to moment in my choices.
There are days when wallowing in self-pity sends me running for cover under my blanket, withdrawing from the Lord and my loved ones. Then, there are nights fraught with pain that leave me breathless, crying out to God. Days I’m living well redefining the wilderness, abiding and resting in the presence of God. Other days, I’m more like a petulant child stomping my feet and screaming with frustration. Also, there are times when I praise Him, and times when I curse this open-ended season of suffering.
However, the best moments are when I relinquish my unholy hard before a holy God.
Intimacy with Holy God amid the unholy hard is found when I relinquish everything. All of it; the screaming, the pain, the cursing, and wallowing. Weary beyond myself, reaching for God, and fixing my eyes on Him, delighting in His Word is the way to abiding. It’s the way to rest in the heart of my Saviour.
Choosing the right path determines whether or not we are redefining the wilderness through our suffering.
Living in complete dependence on God redefines our wilderness, filling the dry and desolate with streams of Living Water, renewing our strength. Yielding fruit in all seasons, with not one withering leaf falling on hard ground.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; BUT his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3 (emphasis mine)
The Word is our soft place to land in the jagged edges of life. It’s a safety bumper around us when we are hanging on by the barest bones of our faith. It holds us together when all else is crumbling.
What path will you choose?
Lord, may we seek your holiness while standing in the unholy hard. May we give you the dew of this day, making the most of life.
“To give Him the dew of the day of life is to make the most of life.” Charles Spurgeon from The Golden Alphabet
I hope you will join me in Delighting In His Word amid suffering and affliction! If you are not a regular subscriber, subscribe and receive weekly installments of Delight In His Word to the right of this post. Also, you can catch up here.
Your Wilderness Guide,