Am I On The Right Path?
Scripture: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-16
It is a rare moment when we slow down, get in touch with our inner life, and reflect on all we have been doing, feeling, and thinking. So often we are going at full speed just to make it through the week or month. When we slow down we tend to plug into something else to keep us distracted. Challenging myself to just 10 minutes of sitting in silence can seem terrifying.
But God has a way of erupting into all of our best laid plans. And as Paula D’Arcy puts it “God comes to you disguised as your life.” So in the middle of traffic you find yourself ranting and raving at someone as if they were evil incarnate. Or you’ve been really struggling to go to sleep without the help of… netflix, a drink, a late night snack or some other thing which lulls you to sleep. Maybe you’ve found yourself extremely frustrated with your… house, city, loved one, job, church, family, or friends. These agitations might be your life trying to get your attention.
Something about the way you’re living is unsustainable.
And when you realize that. When you let that sink in. You’re bound to ask, “Am I on the right path?”
It might be a quarter-life, mid-life, or third-third-of-life crisis. Awareness of the passing of life and our finite time on earth has a way of raising significant questions. Or maybe someone else makes a significant life change and you’re wondering why you haven’t done something similar. They buy the big dream house or downsize into a tiny home so they can travel. Or it could be life happens to you in the form of some abrupt life upheaval you could not predict or control. You lose the job, the relationship implodes or the diagnosis is terminal.
People attending to their spiritual lives look to God, community, spiritual practices, and the rich wisdom of their faith tradition to help guide them. I’ve known people who have gone on pilgrimages, enrolled in higher education spiritual courses, read through the entire writings of a master spiritual teacher, taken on a significant new spiritual discipline, or met with a spiritual director.
King David reached a place where he wanted to do something significant for God. He had already extended the territory of his kingdom and was enjoying a time of peace and prosperity. It dawned on him that God was still housed in a portable tent, while he enjoyed a palace. David set his mind on addressing this issue as his life’s next big project. Being a man of faith, he shared this idea with the prophet Nathan. Nathan replied, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.”
David had received the green light from one of the nation’s spiritual leaders. Or so he thought. Nathan had a spiritual encounter with God later that evening. And all of David’s plans were undone.
In fact, God decided to reverse things on David. King David would not build a house for God. God would build the House of David. As far as dead ends go, it’s a pretty sweet deal. God will make David’s name great, establish his lineage, and David’s throne will endure forever. It seems we learn more from getting things wrong then we do from getting them right.
Our first impulses and restlessness get us kick started into something new. But the journey forward is a winding, circuitous, and twisting path. Are you on the right path? Maybe. Maybe not. But it seems God will find us on any path. And when God finds us… get ready for upheaval, disorientation, and unexpected blessing.