You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
I’ve expressed before that I’m a pilgrim on an unknown journey. One of the things I’ve taken for granted in my life is that I was on the right road. If I just stayed the course things would work out for me. I was a good, hard-working person. I believed in God, went to church, provided for a wife and family and hoped things would be okay.
For the later half of my life, I’ve even believed I was on a different path. A path of choice that was more difficult, rocky and crooked. One that it took courage to navigate. I’ve even used Frost’s poem as verification that it was the road less traveled that makes all the difference.
Now I realize the path I was on was not the one less traveled. It was a road of privilege, power and deceit. I was living two separate lives, one in the dark and one in the light. One powered my growing addiction. Slowly it was devouring the other life. The life I let others see and in which we mutually participated. The darkness was growing and I was powerless to stop it.
Today I realized that part of the reason my real life was becoming overshadowed by my addiction was that my hope was misplaced. My hope was in my ability to control things. I hoped for a good life, a great marriage, a healthy family, and a successful career. I hoped that people would admire me for my accomplishments. I hoped my friends would think I was charming and funny. My hope was in me and the engine of making that kind of hope work was my addiction. After all, my addiction masked all of those “bad emotions” like insecurity, sadness, anger, shame, and so on, that undermined my great hope in myself.
While I was walking today I was thinking about the end of Psalm 17. “You make known to me the path of life.” There is a ton of meaning in this short nine word sentence. The first thing that struck me was that God shows us His path, bit by bit. We don’t know the whole shebang at one time. It is just like his new mercy every morning. We see just the amount of what’s ahead that we need to for making good decisions, no more, no less.
The second thing that hit me was herein lies my hope, not in myself or my ability, but in God.
My hope is in the path God provides for me each and every day. My hope is in His steadfast love and faithfulness to show me just the right amount of my journey for today. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own. My focus is today’s trail. Jesus commands my destiny. He is my only hope.
Part 2 – Fullness of Joy