The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, September 8th comes to us from Mark A. Carter of Oregon.
Proverbs 4:10-18 NRSV 10 Hear, my child, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. 11 I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. 12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered; and if you run, you will not stumble. 13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. 14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evildoers. 15 Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
Hiking in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, I have sometimes taken the wrong trail. These unmarked paths seem inviting at first, but before too long they narrow and end, leaving me frustrated and sometimes lost. Over time I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that the only sure way to get to where I want to go is to follow a well-marked trail. When I look back on my life, I see many times that I went down the wrong path. Ignoring advice, avoiding friends, and trying to do everything my own way, I made some really bad choices. Instead of trying to be the best that I could be, I chose substance abuse. Instead of doing what I needed to do to have the best in life, I became content living with the worst.
Finally, when I had reached rock bottom, a friend who had struggled with similar issues in the past convinced me to visit his church with him. Seeing for myself the effect faith in Christ had on the lives of the people around me, I made the decision to let the Lord’s ways guide my life. Since that day I have never looked back because I have seen so many good opportunities ahead. I finally learned that God’s path is the only path worth walking.
Prayer: Dear Lord, when we begin to get lost, help us to remember that your way is always open, waiting to lead us to you. Amen.
– Mark A. Carter
May the words of Proverbs, alongside Mark’s reflection, inspire and challenge you to rely firmly upon the grace of God in all circumstances.