How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
I won’t forget a word of it.
When I was 15 and got my driver’s permit, I was so excited. I think perhaps my parents were excited to get another driver in the family as well. My dad had taken me for the test and so on the way home he pulled his pick up over and traded me seats so I could drive the rest of the way home in our neighborhood. Seemed pretty safe. I had never driven anything before…well, maybe the riding lawnmower once or twice and maybe in video games but that is about it. I really knew nothing about driving an actual car. I climbed in the drivers seat and awaited instruction. Things were going ok until we needed to turn. My dad told me to turn the wheel some and then when we got around the corner to “just let go.”
So I did. I just let go. I completely took my hands off of the steering wheel…I mean, I really let go. And as my dad started to realize what was happening the pick up was going up and over a curb and directly into a bush. He yelled, “no, stop!” and I hit the brakes just in time…a bit shaken. Nothing was hurt, no one was hurt, all was well. He coached me out of backing up and parking and we switched back seats for the day.
What my 15 year old brain took so literally were instructions that needed a bit more finesse. He was trying to tell me to let the wheel correct itself guided by my hands and I had really no context for what that would look like. I maybe thought it was a bit weird but these were the instructions that I was given. What seems so obvious to some, is not so obvious to the teenage brain learning to drive. Even if all the signs were there, I missed some because of where I was going and what I thought I was doing.
By now, you might be making the connections to other experiences in your life and even to our Psalm today. Sometimes in our pursuit for God during this season, we miss the other signs and directions. Or we miss giving others the entire picture. Thank goodness for my dad who was patient and didn’t give up on trying to teach me how to drive. I like to think I am a good driver today because of my parents and their guidance (I really am a good driver, I promise…whatever my brothers say….). I also know that they have given me guidance throughout life by giving me signs along the way and imparting wisdom whether I know it or not at the time.
I also think of when people encounter us, how will they know about our pursuit of God’s map if we don’t tell them about our road signs along the way? Or maybe we think that the instructions are clear when we say, “just let go” when we mean something a bit more complicated. Where do you see God’s direction? And where are you confused this season? Where is God giving you a map and what does it look like? How can you tell others about it? Some questions to ponder today as we get closer to holy week….
Prayer: God, we know that you give us guidance along the way in our daily lives. Today we want to pay attention to where those road signs might be. Counsel us with your wisdom and let us learn all that you might teach. Amen.