Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Road Gone By

0 Father of light and leading,
From the top of each rising hill
Let me cast my eye on the road gone by
To mark the steps of Thy will!
For the clouds that surround the present
Shall leave this heart resigned,
When joy appears in the path of tears
That led through the days behind.

—George Matheson
God’s will is better seen in retrospect than in prospect, or so it seems to me. It’s by casting our “eye on the road gone by” that we “mark the steps of (his) will.”

God has an itinerary for each of us, a “course” that we must run.[1] Our route is charted in the councils of heaven and rooted in the sovereign purposes of God. Yet our choices are not irrelevant. We make decisions every day, large and small, many of which have life-altering consequences. The question then—forgoing the confounding mystery of God’s sovereignty and human free will—is this: How can we, in our choices, suitably reflect his will?

The answer is clear to me, now that I’m older and have more of the past to see. It is by looking back that I see my Father’s guiding hand: Love and Wisdom have led me all the way. With old Jacob I can truthfully say, “God has been my shepherd all my life to this day.”[2]

So…though clouds “surround the present” and much uncertainty lies ahead, my heart is duly resigned. The “Father of light and leading” will be faithful to show me the way. My task is to follow Him in love and obedience, and leave the next step to Him.

And how will I know the next step?

I do not know. I do know, however, that I shall know it when I need to know. On what basis can I have that assurance? By dwelling on “the road gone by.”


[1] Cp., Acts 20:24  and 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul’s word, dromon, means “a race course.”
[2] Genesis 48:15

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