Lord, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? —Isaiah 63:17 NLT
Maybe we can think of God as being the path. Maybe God’s plan for us involves the path, particularly, staying on it.
If this is so, maybe we are the path turners. Intentionally and otherwise, we find ourselves turning off the path when we meet what seems to be our immediate needs. Satisfied in the moment, our needs eventually perpetuate. In time, we learn that peace comes in pieces when it comes to our own desires. Bliss doesn’t last. Taking the path for granted, or ignoring the path in the moment, there is always something else we want or need.
This could be why we vacillate. Like those Isaiah writes of, we groan at God for having too much power in our lives in one breath, yet, in the next, we want God to regain all control. When we see our relationship with God in this way, the possibility of having a stubborn heart may make sense.
The path imagery only extends so far (no pun). We are really talking about the blessings and the blunders of freewill. The ultimate gift of freewill is expressed here in these verses in what seems like a lament. For Christians, a point comes in our lives when we no longer want to turn from the path. We still sin and choose our own centeredness over remaining on the path of God; this is the human condition; but we wander less and less from the path when, with intention, we seek more and more from (and with) God.
PRAYER: God, continue to be present and patient with us as we return, again and again, to the path. Amen.