“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth.”
This is Paolo. For generations his family has been riding the waters of the Venetian lagoon, guiding gondolas through the maze of canals and waterways. Linda and I began our excursion with him at the great landing next to St. Mark’s square. But it wasn’t long before we were gliding along the narrow canals, in the fading light of dusk, with no idea where we were. This is when I turned around and took this picture. I was struck – and reassured – by Paolo’s calm demeanor and steady gaze. His handling of the gondola was elegant and effortless. This is someone who knew where he was, where he was going, and how to get there.
When I look ahead at the day before me, there is reason enough to wonder about what the right direction might be. Even if I am convinced, obstacles, threats and dangers may cause me to question my course. When I look at the wider world, I have even less reason for confidence. Their appears to be no real direction in life. The course seems to be one of random chaos and confusion.
If the Bible makes anything clear it is that the hand of God is on the tiller of history. The voyage is not without tumult and danger, to be sure. But the direction is set and the course, however torturous, will end in the fulfillment of God’s good and gracious purposes. Knowing this helps me step back a bit and remember that I am not wandering blindly through life, in the hands of chaotic forces.
In your baptism, God gave you the Holy Spirit, to be your Comforter and Guide. If an earthly guide, like our friend Paolo, can navigate so adroitly, how much more is the Spirit of Christ, Who is the way, the Truth and the Life, able to guide us through the convolutions and perils of living?
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”