The Path of No Regrets

US Navy 050709-N-0000X-001 Satellite image tak...

US Navy satellite image of Hurricane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tropical Storm Debby passed close enough to our area this week to be a reminder that hurricane season is here. It was interesting that early in the process the various computer-forecasting models didn’t agree. Some predicted the storm would head west to Texas, some said it would hit Florida, and one had it wobbling around in a loop in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

That reminded me of a television show about hurricane forecasting. In one segment, a forecaster described the process of recommending when, where and to what level to have coastal evacuations when a hurricane approaches. The uncertainty of the path (especially if the models disagree), and varying strength of the storm several days out, can make it difficult to determine what to do. Waiting too long may not leave enough time for the people to leave and can be disastrous. It can have that same result if a weak storm suddenly jumps up a couple of categories in strength just before it hits land.

Calling for an evacuation only to have the hurricane go elsewhere or fizzle out makes for unnecessary disruption, costs money and leaves many frustrated and angry people. It also increases the tendency to disregard the next call for evacuation – which may be the storm that does hit at full force.

With all that variability, what did he say they strive for?

“We want to take the path of least regret.”

That sounds like no matter which choice they make there will be some regret. Even if an evacuation is called and the storm hits as predicted, there are probably still some thoughts that it should have been a smaller (or larger) evacuation. On the other side, it’s clear that not calling an evacuation and having a strong storm hit an area is the worst possible outcome with much regret.

As Christians, we also make choices on the paths we take. Hopefully, we don’t use the “least regret” philosophy, but strive to follow God’s path for our lives. (“Show me your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths.” Psalms 25:4 NKJV).

That doesn’t mean God’s path for us will always be straight and easy. In some ways, it may be harder than taking our own path – but choosing our own path is guaranteed to have regrets.

The Lord speaks in a wonderful assurance verse in Isaiah that relates to the paths we follow:

I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16 NKJV.

God’s paths can make us struggle at times – and sometimes they’re meant to. We may blindly struggle in the darkness (remembering we all were once spiritually blind and in darkness) but as we trust in God, the light becomes clearer. As we follow Him where we’ve never been, we notice the crooked ways straightening out. And, as we reach the end of a journey and look back, while we may have some regrets of our own missteps, we can see God’s faithfulness. He has truly done what He said and has not forsaken us. Then we can praise His Name, and declare “Thank you, Lord. I have no regrets for following You!”

10 New Year’s Resolutions from the Psalms

English: Scroll of the Psalms

Scroll of the Psalms

I usually post once a week, but thought I’d add this one since it deals with the New Year:         

            As many people do at the New Year, I was thinking about resolutions. I realized that many of the Psalms contain “I will (or shall)” or “I will (or shall) not”. That sounded like resolutions to me, so here is a list of 10 New Year’s resolutions from The Psalms.

 Psalms 4:8 – I will lie down, both in peace and in sleep. For You alone, Jehovah, make me dwell in safety.

 Psalms 5:3 – My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Jehovah; in the morning I will direct my prayer to You, and I will look up.

 Psalms 18:2 – Jehovah is my strength, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock; I will trust in Him; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.

 Psalms 26:1 – Judge me, O Jehovah; for I have walked in my truthfulness. I have trusted also in Jehovah; I shall not slide.

 Psalms 42:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul, and moan within me? Hope in God; for I shall praise Him for the salvation of His face.

 Psalms 44:6 – For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

Psalms 56:4 – In God I will praise His Word; in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me.

Psalms 62:6 – He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my strong tower; I shall not be shaken.

Psalms 119:33 – Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Psalms 119:34 – Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your Law; yea, I shall observe it with all my heart.

The Patience of Toads

We often hear about the patience of Job, but have you ever considered the patience of toads?  Our house must be located in prime toad territory because we have a multitude of the little critters that hop out from under bushes and other hiding places each night in search of bugs.  There’s a group that gathers under the light on the carport and another group that fans out across the patio finding the patches where the security light on the power pole shines through the birch tree limbs.  Two of the toads spend the day under the moss roses in a planter on the back porch.  At night they scramble over the edge of the container, plop down on the bricks and hop to any light that is shining through the glass in the back door. 

The toads are not alone in their search for tasty bug treats. The green tree frogs also hang around – literally.  They’re the ones with enlarged pads on their toes that give them the ability to crawl up the side of the house and even stick to the ceiling upside down. 

The tree frogs attach themselves to the glass in our back door and spend the night waiting a short time and moving, waiting a little more and moving – they rarely stay in one spot for more than a minute or two and then impatiently move on in search of better hunting.

But the toads don’t seem to feel the need to do much moving.  A toad can sit for an hour in the exact same location, waiting for a wandering bug to land in the few square inches in front of him that are within range of an outstretched tongue and a quick lunge.  I don’t know how many bugs that a toad can catch in a night but apparently there are enough to make them fat and keep them coming back and sitting patiently night after night.

It’s written in the Bible that God provides for all of his creation – that would include bugs for toads.  While not realizing it, the toads do acknowledge that fact and trust in it by going each night to a good spot, sitting and waiting, and then acting when the opportunity shows itself.

Perhaps we could learn from the toads’ example.  God provides for His children too and gives us blessings and opportunities to serve Him, but we can’t find those while sitting alone in a hiding place.  We must first move closer to the Light, drawing nearer to God by studying His Word, communicating with Him through prayer, and exercising our faith through obedience.  During this process we shouldn’t be rushing about like the tree frogs trying to find what God would have us do.  Instead it requires patience like the waiting toads.  God will lead us in what He wants us to do but the timing will be up to Him.  If we wait patiently and trust in His faithfulness He will give us opportunities and when those are presented, that’s when we must act.  If we wait on God and then follow His purpose and timing, we will receive blessings from above – and they’re guaranteed to be better than those that the toads receive!

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  Isa 40:31 KJV