There’s a butler door that swings between our dining room and kitchen. As we have no butler, it stands propped open at all times (unless mom and dad need to discuss a matter without little ears hearing, or mom just needs a moment of peace.) A verse posted on the door greets me each morning, setting my heart on the things of God before I dash into the daily to-do list that lies before me. The scripture from Psalm 143 speaks… “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” I have read the verse many, many times. Meditated on it. Recited it. Prayed it. It is a breath of fresh air. I can rely on it to remind me of God’s promised guidance no matter what the circumstance.
Several days ago I was reading the Psalms when I came upon 143:7, quoted above. I kept reading, and stopped at verse 10. It reads, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” My eyes dropped to the notes at the bottom of the page of my study Bible to see if there was any additional teaching on the verse. It led me to a note on Psalm 26:12, which also speaks of level ground. In this section’s notes, level ground is described as a place “where the going is smooth and free from the danger of falling.” I chuckled to myself. Where the going is smooth. I thought, I’d like that for one day. No bumps. No roadblocks. No sudden patches of gravel. No traffic jams or detours. In my current season of life, these hangups generally manifest themselves in the form of sibling squabbles, spilled milk, potty accidents (either dog or toddler), tantrums, and general lack of communication. “Smooth” is not exactly the first word I would choose to describe most of my weekdays.
But after some consideration, (and more time letting God do the talking while I do the listening,) I have come to realize that when I stop focusing on the circumstances and start letting God (the good Spirit) do the leading, my ground is level. I have a Shepherd who does not let His sheep wander where his protection will not follow. On the contrary, every step I take, if following the lead of the Spirit will be steady, sure, firm…level. When my eyes are on my Shepherd, the bumps become smooth and the road straightens. This does not mean that the days are free of interruption. There are still messes to clean, children to discipline and miscommunications to clear up, but my perspective changes when my focus is on God. With eyes on God, any trouble becomes a learning opportunity. Why? Because God himself has allowed the troubles to be present. And God does not waste anything. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God can use the mishaps, the unexpected, for his glory, too.
So what then is my fresh perspective? Psalm 143:7 reminds me… “for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go.” I need to let God do the leading and fully trust that whatever happens along the way can be for my good. The little bumps in the road of my life don’t have to be viewed as detours or roadblocks. They can be seen as blessings, new opportunities to learn and grow. If my life is in Christ, my path is smooth. Each circumstance can serve a purpose. Yes, even those sibling squabbles can be a blessing. They are lessons in the patience of parenting. If I view the unexpected (and sometimes seemingly unwelcome) circumstances as blessings instead of bumps on my road, I can have a heart of thanks instead of a heart that is inwardly focused. Then I can truly pray with David, “…you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
The Spirit is trustworthy. He can use each circumstance to lead me to the destination he has for me. But he does require that I step out of the leadership role and become the follower. Fixing my eyes on the Spirit who leads me instead of getting sidetracked with the possible bumps and detours makes the going much more smooth. Then I have eyes to see that the path before me really is level…“smooth and free from the danger of falling.” With the Spirit of God as my guide, I have every reason to lift up soul. Lord, I pray like David – may your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
In joyful surrender,