By Diane Pate
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore, will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
One October, my husband and I experienced wet thick misty weather as we visited Ireland. We traveled along the southwest coast in an area of narrow roads along beautiful cliffs that dropped straight down to the ocean. We were exploring with no specific destination in mind. The road went steeply upward until we reached the top where it was so narrow that only one car could pass. We were relieved not to meet a car. We made it safely to the village below and had a lovely dinner. It was dark and misty when we emerged from the pub and we went on our way.
On this particular peninsula, the road signs were written in Irish. Soon we came to a fork in the road. Not able to read the sign and our GPS out of service range, we made a guess which road would lead to home. Again, we traveled on narrow roads and soon this one, too, went steeply up. As we traveled on, I began to have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. This mist was heavy and it was hard to see the land on the right, and we were very aware of the steep drop to the ocean on the left.
Then, for a moment, the mist cleared and our headlights illuminated a large statue of Madonna which we had seen earlier in the day. Suddenly, we knew right where we were-- almost to that narrow one-way curve at the top of the cliffs. We tried not to panic. It was pitch dark and we could hear the ocean far below. We decided that I should get out of the car and direct us in backing up because there was no way we were going to risk meeting a car at the very top. As I exited the car, I realized I was on the cliff side and couldn’t see where it dropped off. I quickly reentered the car and we began to inch our way down the grade to a wider spot to turn around. Then, breathing a huge sigh of relief and still shaking, we made our way safely home.
Are you on a road where you don’t know where you are going? Unable to see the end? Do you wonder if you are following the best path? Do you deeply desire to please God?
Like Thomas Merton, we may find great comfort in knowing that our desire to please God, does in fact please God. We might feel lost and in the shadow of death and know nothing about the road we are on, but we can trust that God leads us on the right road and never leaves us to face our perils alone.