My uncle is a white water rafting guide. If you pay him enough, you can get on his raft and he will lead you down white-water rapids in central Oregon. You would have to be crazy to go down the river without the guide, it would most-likely end badly. But the guide knows what he is doing. He knows what is around the bend, he calls out orders for the group to paddle to the left or right, and it’s his job to keep the group safe (and the group’s job to listen to the guide).
Last summer I read this same verse almost every day. It sustained me when I was weak and encouraged me when I was broken. When I was cleaning out my office last week, I came across the words scribbled out on an old sticky note.
“For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end”
The first 13 verses of chapter 48 describe the greatness of God. It’s like a gigantic crescendo that ends with a heart grabbing statement. This God – who is beautiful, strong, and unfailing in love – is our God. The God that I love is the same God you love. The God I pray to is the same God you pray to and He will be forever and ever.
That means that this Sunday as Stephen Kim leads up in worship with his guitar, we will sing to the same God as the small Navajo church with their out-of-tune piano and we will sing to the same God as the small group of believers in the mountains of Peru with no instruments at all.
Our church is stretched around the world right now. There are students in Thailand, China, Korea, Japan and across America. Where ever you are, we still worship the same God. He is our God.
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the first half of that verse. But what breaks me every time I read it is the second half. He will be our guide even to the end. Let me tell you why it breaks me, because lately, I haven’t been very good at letting God be my guide. In fact, there have been times when I was uninterested in letting God lead.
You ever find yourself there? You know those times when you go through the motions of reading the Bible (or maybe not having a quiet time at all). I’ve found myself make decisions with me as the primary consideration, not God – not others. I have felt warn out because I lived “trying” when God wanted me to live “relying”.
Let me tell you what I have learned. Even when I choose not to follow, God still leads. He still longs to be my guide. He knows what is coming up and he has my best interest in mind. He is for me, not against me. He hasn’t given up on me and he can’t give up on you. He is ready to guide me, I just need to listen.
Life is kind of like the river my uncle rafts down. It can be dangerous and you would be foolish to do it on your own. When I choose to do it on my own I usually fail. But when I listen and respond to God working in my life its always better.
Let’s face it – we need a guide.
Some of us are looking for a job.
Some of us are deciding on a college to attend.
Some of us are dealing with relationships.
Some of us are working in missions.
Some of us are just tired or frustrated.
My prayer for us is that we will be a group of people seeking to let God be our guide. It’s hard sometimes. I’ll be on my knees for you.