There are a number of short prayers, “Help!” being one of the most popular. “Save me,” being another. But the one that I find myself praying most often is, “Father, lead me.” And I know that God does. How can I be so confident? Because the Lord is my shepherd, and I am asking him to do something that he has already promised in his word.
“He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake,” Israel’s King David wrote in Psalm 23:3 – at least in the King James Version I memorized as a child. Although David didn’t compose in 17th century English, the meaning of his words remains the same. God leads me. He guides me.
Although I don’t always know the right answer in the moment when I pray, I pray anyway, trusting that God is in fact leading me. If what I aim to do goes against his word – like stealing, lying, or taking a life – I know it is not God’s leading, because he never contradicts himself. But some decisions are fuzzier, such as which car to buy, what school to go to or what job to take. In such areas I pray and make the best decision I can, knowing that, as long as I am looking to him, God will ultimately use it for my good and his glory.
So it was this past month, after much prayer, that I signed a contract to teach English at my children’s small, Christian school. I love teaching, especially literature and writing – two subjects I am passionate about. And I am looking forward to giving back to a school that has given so much to my own family.
And so, while I brush up on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and high school grammar to prepare for the year ahead, once again I find myself praying, “Father, lead me.” I also find that – just like bringing home a new jacket or a piece of furniture – to make room for something .new, it is time to give up something old: mainly writing this weekly column.
Faith Notes has had a good run – roughly seven years – first as an online blog, and then in print here for The Times Record. Ink runs in my blood, so I’ll still be writing, hopefully once a month on my web site while also continuing to write books for children and adults. Sometimes to make the time and energy to do the thing you want most, you have to give up something else of value. That’s where I’m at.
So, keep an eye out for The Lantern Hill Light Parade and The Thanksgiving Blessing, my two new children’s books coming out this summer and fall (and which you can pre-order at your local bookstore or online). Thank you to the many readers who have reached out with thoughts and words of encouragement. And if my own thoughts and words have encouraged you, please take the next step by reading the Bible, visiting a local church (if you aren’t part of one already) and asking God to lead you.
Meadow Rue Merrill, author of the award-winning memoir, Redeeming Ruth, writes for children and adults from a little house in the big woods of midcoast Maine. The Best Birthday, the third book in her Lantern Hill Farm children’s picture-book series, is available now.