The Old Paths

Jeremiah 6:15-16 “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”

I can remember a time in my younger years that I thought my parents foolish and ignorant of the world I lived in. They could not relate as my friends and I did. They could not understand the world and the things in it as I did. All was new and fresh and alive! Theirs was old and stogy and seemingly backwards.

I held these views in my later teens and even up until I married. Then, responsibility came. Children came. The reality of life smacked me right between the eyes. And those parents that seemed so ignorant and foolish, now were wiser than I thought imagined and needed now more than ever. I have come to realize that I needed my Dad’s counsel on how to be a Dad. I felt so ill-equipped, scared and alone.

As time went on and my relationship with my Dad restored, I came to a few realizations. The relationship between parent and child and our ability to keep open and honest communication was paramount. I realized that I was more dictator than discipler; more monarchal then mentor. As my children grew, they needed the reasons why we did things – not “Do it because I said so”.

Helping them to reason and process problems using the Bible became a daunting task. I had to listen and respond. Even then, I found I needed to ask the Holy Spirit if I should even respond because leaving them to find the answers allowed them to depend on God; not me.

Another realization was the interdependence we shared. As children, they depended on their parents for sustenance: food, clothing, shelter, love, affirmation and acceptance. For the most part, I felt confident I could meet their needs. I worked hard. God provided. All seemed well. Then there comes a time when all children challenge their authority. How we respond matters greatly in their view of parents and of God.

But I needed God as well. Without Him, I was frustrated easily and made many mistakes. Then there are those regretful decisions where we gave into pride and anger instead of patient longsuffering. Hurtful words, cutting rebuke and damaging darts of things said can be voiced so easily in the heat of emotion. But, their damage and the reparation can sometimes take a lifetime.

Without God, the path to restoration in our relationships seems near to impossible. I consider myself blessed that God found me and saved me when he did. Looking back, I was on such a path to destruction – I did not even see the amount of damage I had already caused; let alone what I could have done to those lives entrusted to my care.

God’s way – the Bible way is never old. It was not only for Moses in his day, but for me in mine as well. I have come to realize that in my future, my God has already been there. He sees what I cannot. He has such a wonderful plan when I do not. He has answers when I haven’t even asked the questions.

Not only am I secure in my eternity, I am secure for today, tomorrow, next week and next year. Pride says; “I can do it!”, humility says, “Will you show me how to do it right?” Sometimes trial and error is a great teacher; but when it comes to such precious things as a life – dependence on God is essential.

There is wisdom to be gained from everyone who has gone before us. Their ways are not so old and their wisdom is not so outdated that it cannot help.

One last realization is that I must have a teachable spirit. You and I through our lifetime will never arrive. Seeking wisdom for the day; seeking it for my life and seeking it for others can only come if I am able to receive it. As a teenager, I thought I knew even more than my parents. Time and experience showed me different.

Just because a path is well-worn doesn’t mean it cannot be relevant or work for me today. I now see that I must place my hand in the hand of my God and allow Him to lead down paths that only He can know are right for me. I trust that He has my best interest in mind both personally and in all my relationships.

As we start our week, let’s take our Father’s hand and see just what He has in store!

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