Around curve after curve he leads me, winding along back country roads. He yields to another car and I wait behind him, then follow into the middle lane of the rotary and around to the third exit, through the strange intersection where all must turn and turn quickly again, though faced with a red light on the second turn. His written instructions lie on the seat beside me, the same words already tucked in my head. The just-in-case map is in my purse. But it is dark and I am tired and he loves me, and on the way home he leads with more than his written words. I am so glad; I only need to keep my eyes on him.
It’s a time of turning. The old year is leaving, the new arriving, and we choose what to keep from the past and what to let go. We dream and plan and make resolutions. And sometimes the scary, wonderful truth peeks through the planning: we know almost nothing about the coming year. Life can change in an instant. And that’s okay, because we know the one thing that matters: The God who has loved us every moment of the past will keep loving us every moment of the future. And His love leads; we just need to keep our eyes on Him.
One night He leads with the red taillights of Dad’s car; another morning He reminds a young mom of His presence with a pillar of fire sunrise. Sometimes we walk in a fog so thick we fear He has left us alone. But even when we can’t see or hear, His promise, and the reality on which it stands, does not change. He will not let go. (Isaiah 46:4; John 10:28-29; Hebrews 13:5-6) One way or another, he will get us safely home.
“Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” (Deut 1:29-31 cf. v. 33)
He’s our God: He has given Himself to us, made us His. And so He goes before us, leading, carrying, fighting for us.
He knows us well, knows when He needs to lead us by the longer route because our faith isn’t yet strong enough to handle the more direct route. (Ex 13:17-18). He doesn’t mind the detour. He just wants us close, living in the truth of His love.
He gently leads those who are with young (Isaiah 40:11). . . and that gentleness extends to all of us who, with Mary, have given Him our “yes” and now live the daily realities of bearing the Son of God into the world.
I don’t know what 2013 will hold. (Who of us does?) But I know that the God who has led through the past is the same God who is leading into the future. Still strong. Still gentle. Still achingly eager to be known.
What better news is there than this as we enter 2013?
“For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” (Psalm 48:14)
More encouragement for the new year: