WITH CHRIST: Joy on the Path of Life

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence,

with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)

*********************************************

The little girl with curly ringlets in her hair walked away from her mother, down the path on her own. A smile swept across the mother’s face, watching her daughter’s baby steps of independence. The expression soon changed to a thoughtful gaze as she envisioned her daughter walking ahead, forward in time–growing up, facing challenges, enduring trials, embracing life, holding another hand, her own baby’s steps leaving footprints ahead. There was joy in the mother’s heart and tears blurred her eyes, as she watched her little girl continue to move ahead of her, down the path. . .

Sadness with joy. It seems contradictory. Most would agree that happiness and joy complement each other, but how can one have sadness and still be joyful?

James says to Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)  Our characters can be transformed, reshaped, and renewed through such trials, so that we reflect attributes of Christ. The pain of the labor brings forth a new joy. We become more like Him, who took on pain, great suffering, abandonment by God, and our sin so we could live with Him eternally.

 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:8-9)

What “glorious joy” it will be when we can see Him!  John wrote to the church family: “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” (2 John 1:12) How complete our joy will be to see Christ, stand in His presence, and talk with Him!

 …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

As the mother watches her little girl take baby steps independently down the path ahead, we know there is, likely, another scene where the child looks back to make sure the mother is still there and yet another scene where she returns to her mother’s arms. God watches our steps of independence and waits for us to turn back to Him. We may encounter ruts, sinkholes, flooding, barricades, and more along our independent path before we look back– and go back– to Him, but when we do, the joy surpasses any tribulation we will confront and endure to arrive at the place where He is.

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. (Proverbs 10:28) Our prospect is our choice. But only His way, His path is the one that leads to eternal joy.

(Sharon  G. Tate 05/21/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

God’s Direction in the Path of Life

path to life

“You make known to me the path of life. . .” (Psalm 16:11)

The high school was in my backyard, an easy walk across the lawn and a small field to the complex grounds–until the day workers began building the fence. It was constructed, link by link, the full length of the street. There was no gate, and it was too high to climb over, although I did examine the fence closely for a possible way to get through to the other side.

Finding it impossible to breach the fence, I had to start walking to the end of the street and up the next block, waiting for all the traffic at the entrance drive to the school, before arriving at the high school grounds. Such a waste of time and effort, I fumed for days. The other path was so accessible, so easy, before the fence denied this access.

ACCESS DENIED. How many paths were changed during the course of our lives? How many roadblocks of some kind were put in those routes to divert our walk elsewhere? How many times did we long for the easy, familiar way when all along God had other plans for us on this new journey?

“The steps of a man are from the Lord,
and He establishes Him in whose way He delights…”
(Psalm 37:23)

What did I gain from this new path to the high school? I encountered other students that I didn’t normally see. Some became friends. It was good exercise. I noticed more about my own neighborhood and neighbors on the walk. My perspective changed about the easy route. It was almost automatic, footsteps moving in the same tread-worn path. It was solitary, for no one else walked that way. The other route was more engaging with people, nature, and my own awareness of surroundings I had not really observed.

What can we learn from the paths God denies to us? What can we gain from the paths God directs us to in life? What can we give to others we meet on this course? How can we carry out the Lord’s Will in the direction chosen for us?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make straight your paths.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

ACCESS GRANTED.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/05/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word