A Path Through The Water

Saturday, October 1, 2016
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Listen while you read: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise"1 (Lyrics)

Nehemiah 9:19 – Because of your great compassion, you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. (NIV)

I was visiting my brother and his wife in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, USA. Los Angeles, California, where I live, has been in the grip of drought for five years, so you can imagine my measureless delight in the seemingly endless lakes, channels, and rivers overseen by stately trees.

Several times, we went out on the lake in Dan's boat. I noticed two rows of pylons extending out of the water. Dan was careful to stay between those rows as we travelled. The lake was so wide and the marked path was so narrow that I wondered why he stayed in that restricted space.

"Between the pylons is the only place where the water is deep enough to navigate," he explained. "Closer to the shore, the boat would get stuck in the mud."

The analogy to the Christian life was too obvious to miss. Some people look at life as a big, calm lake, imagining that the whole expanse of water is theirs to explore without limitation, neither knowing nor caring what lies under the surface. They ignore the guidance provided for them, believing themselves to be free. God? He's just a spoilsport Who wants to keep us from having fun.

Christians must be wiser than that. God knows the lake better than we do. He knows where the glassy surface hides dangers and where we are likely to run aground.

First and foremost among the "pylons" that God gives us to guide us is His Word, which is like the pillar of fire that led the Israelites in the wilderness. The psalmist called God's Word "a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105 KJV). If we study it diligently, it will permeate our lives to such an extent that we will not even want to stray from its beautiful precepts.

But sometimes, we can't see the way. Our vision is limited by grief, frustration, or hopelessness. Even then, He is with us. He will send a "pillar of cloud", a friend, a circumstance, the thought of a Bible verse, or the memory of a song to bring us back to the centre — Himself.

Boating on the lake gave me a great sense of freedom. But without guidance, that freedom would quickly have ended, stuck in the mud. We must keep our spiritual eyes open so that we do not miss His path for us.

Prayer: Father in heaven, we thank You for the sure and certain guidance that You gave to Israel and that You give to us. Forgive us, we pray, for thinking that we know best and straying. Protect us from crippling doubt in times of trouble. Keep our eyes, minds, and hearts focused on the One Who is the Way, Jesus Christ our Lord, in Whose name we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Sylvia Alloway <snalloway@verizon.net>
Granada Hills, California, USA

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1 Comment

  • ` says:

    Great devotional Sylvia.

    Let his light guide you.

    Very helpful thoughts. Thank you.

    Thanks, Sylvia, for sharing this instructive devotional with us. Blessings.

    Dear Sylvia,
    Thank you for the very fine devotional … and your prayer.
    Keep writing.

    Good Morning, Sylvia!
    This is a great illustration and thanks for sharing it! I was born ion California and know very well the drought conditions can cause havoc!
    God bless you as you continue to seek His steps AND be a blessing to others!

    Hello dear Sylvia,
    I read the story about your visit to your brother and his wife and riding their boat and maneuvering your way between the pylons in the lake.
    The analogy of Christians exploring their lives without limitations in just the same way was very beautifully and eloquently illustrated. They don’t know, or rather ignore, what lies under the surface that might hinder their progress in a way or another. No option other than to allow God and invite Him into their lives to be their guidance. Wishing you the best in your writing.

    God Bless you, Sylvia for your devotional this morning. God often sends me the Pillar of Cloud in a line of a song I haven’t thought of for years. This paragraph brings this to my mind as it usually happens after my season of prayer. We don’t sing the old Gospel Songs anymore but as I am 85 years of age, I have many years of music in worship hidden in my heart.
    I lived in California and my thoughts often picture it. I won’t see it again in my life time but I have the picture in my memory. Please continue to contribute your gift to us as God inspires you.

    Thank you, Sylvia, for your devotional today. It is so seldom to read one from California.
    Yes, the drought has been miserable, especially where I am in the high desert where we haven’t had any rain that counts for such a long time, especially this year.
    I am greatly blessed!! Every morning I talk to the Lord, and always ask Him to “make me a blessing to someone today.” I don’t have to know to who or how.
    You certainly are a good writer. God bless you real good.

    I am so appreciative of your devotional! A timely, heaven-sent reminder for me – truly a blessing.
    Thank you for taking the time to share the insights our loving Lord has laid upon your heart!

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