The Tour Guide

Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 25:4-5:

“Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.”

The group had traveled far, from one dead-end to another. It seemed the whole world was against them—even the jagged peaks thundered their wrath and forced them to enter the dark underbelly of the mountain range, where endless stairs and tunnels turned this way and that, churning through ancient rocks and abandoned mines. Day light seemed like a vague memory. They had never gone here before—and never would again once they reached the other side. If they reached the other side.

But one of the ragtag band had been here before. And he was their guide, using his light to illumine a path through the dismal tunnels. He seemed to be doing a decent job, knowing exactly which path to take. Until they came to a crossroads—er, a cross-tunnel. Their leader darted this way and that, his wooly eyebrows going up and down. They could almost hear his aged mind whir through his bottomless memory bank…only to come up blank.

He furrowed his brow and said, “I have no memory of this place.”

Come on, Gandalf! What kind of wizard are you? I thought you had all this power and wisdom, and yet you can’t even think of the next turn? Gandalf the Gray who’s guided the people of Middle Earth for thousands of years gets lost in a mine. What a useless wizard! I knew we should’ve taken the elf instead. Better yet, a GPS!

I’ve got a question for you Lord of the Rings lovers: which would you rather have to guide you to Mordor?

A. A ranger named Aragorn who’s never been there before.

B. A fat hobbit who can cook a good rabbit stew.

C. A supposedly-powerful wizard who always has something negative to say—and also has never been there before.

D. Or, a gangly creature named Gollum who’s recently been to Mordor and was able to escape it successfully.

Tolkien answers the question for us.

How about this? Say you want to take a safari to Serengeti, the most famous game preserve, full of lions, leopards, and buffalo—oh my! Who would you want as your guide in the park?

A. Me (I went there once).

B. The fat American tourist with the camera.

C. A safari tour guide who guides people for a living and goes there at least once a week.

D. Or, a Maasai tribesman who grew up on the plains and spends his whole life with its creatures.

I’d go with option C or D? Why?

Because, we want the most knowledgeable person to lead us in a place we do not know. That’s why we trust Park Rangers over tourists, tour guides over Wikipedia, and locals over Google Maps. We want the person who knows the place best. The person who’s spent the most time there—the one who’s been there before. And can still remember the way to go. Lead on!

But I think there’s a fourth choice to our question above. D. The God of the Universe Who created this whole world and knows everything. If I were to trust anyone to guide me around this globe, I’d choose the God Who made it. And I’m not talking physically. Do you ever feel lost spiritually? You don’t know what to do next? You have two good options—or at least they both look good to you and you’re not sure which to choose. This job or that? This guy or that one? This house or that? It’s in these times that we need to look to Psalm 25.

These verses were brought to my attention by my wonderful girlfriend. She uses them as a prayer to start the day: “Show me Your ways, God. Teach me Your paths!” Show me where to go today—guide each decision. What a great idea! Instead of starting the day as directionless as Gandalf in Moria, why not get on your knees and get your compass pointed north—your soul fixed on God, asking Him for help. He will not fail to be the Leader you need.

He’ll lead you on paths of truth. He’ll teach you what to do. Trust Him. He’s been there before—He knows what your life will be like, what trials you’ll face, who you’ll marry, where you’ll live, what color your bridesmaids dresses will be. He’s walked the trail of your life a thousand times—He sits outside of time. And knows everything.

Why would you ask Siri to take you to Starbucks when your friend next to you works there every day? So why would you ask Mr. Worldly Wiseman for directions—the guy who’s never helped a single soul to find the right path—rather than the One Who built the path. Trust the expert.

Lead on, O King Eternal. Lead on.

-Matthew W., SC

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