READ : Psalm 25
O Lord; teach me your paths . . . for you I wait all the day long. (vv. 4-5)
These verses contain two essential truths about the spiritual life: first, the Lord leads us, and second, we must wait for him. That seems an odd reversal, doesn’t it? Usually it’s the other way around: those who lead have to wait for those who follow to catch up with them.
How do we resolve the seeming paradox between being led, which implies movement, and waiting, which suggests standing still? The truth is, we do it all the time. We can be hiking on a trail while “waiting” for the next signpost to see where the trail leads. The trick is to not be overconfident and turn before we’re given directions. One of my grandmother’s favorite Dutch proverbs was Je moet niet de Heer vooruitlopen, which means “you must not run ahead of the Lord.”
What happens if the signpost doesn’t show up? Rest assured, it always does, when we look for it in faith and wait for it patiently. C. S. Lewis has an analogy that is instructive in this regard. If a friend whom we know and trust says he will meet us at a certain time and place and then fails to show up, we do not immediately accuse him of being a liar and untrustworthy. We know he’ll either be there or have a very good explanation. And God will lead us, as he has promised, because he always keeps his word.
Lead us, Lord, even as we wait for your leading.