Have you ever felt like you are submerged under water and you are kicking and paddling furiously toward the surface? It seems just out of reach and you wonder if you're going to make it with the air you have in your lungs. Faster and faster you kick; panic begins to set in, and then you gloriously break through the water's surface and suck in a big breath of life-giving air?
I think we've all felt that way at times...like the big vacuum cleaner of life has cozied up to us and sucked the life right out of us. I have felt that way this week. Frustrations, emotions, and lack of sleep have left me craving something I need. I need a breath of fresh air.
Every path he guides us on is fragrant with his lovingkindness. (Psalm 25:10)
Every path he guides me on...notice that He "guides" me. He doesn't leave me in the wilderness alone to wander. No, He lovingly guides me. He doesn't just do this on some paths; no, He does this on "every" path. Even on the rough and treacherous paths, He still guides me.
Here it comes. Every path is "fragrant". It's not just a breath of fresh air; it's much more than that - it's beautifully fragrant.
The only thing required of me is to simply breathe it in.
Even the paths in the dark are fragrant. Think about the night jasmine whose delightful fragrance only comes out in the dark of night.
What is every path fragrant with? His lovingkindness. This might sound redundant, but I love the word "lovingkindness". My spell check on my laptop wants to correct it and separate the word into two words, but in the Bible (and only in the Bible) lovingkindness is one complete word. Lovingkindness is also only used to describe God. Hmmm....how interesting.
Along every path in life, be it trial or pleasure stroll, the path is ALWAYS fragrant with His lovingkindness.
I can only read the news in the newspaper so long until I have to pick up the comics for a breath of fresh air. I can only stay cooped up inside with all the winter snow and ice outside until I need to step out into the sunshine and feel it on my face.
God will give us the "comics". He will give us the "sunshine on our face". He always brings it to us in the form of lovingkindness. Our job is to look for it and then to breathe it in.
It may come in many forms: Notice the intricate petals of a flower just beginning to bloom. Listen to the laughter of your children or a group of children as they walk home from school. Feel the warm embrace of a good friend. Listen to the steady rhythm of your spouse's breathing as they lie next to you. Smell how the coffee, or the cookies, or the bacon wafts its way up the stairs and tickles your nose.
Read scripture and hang on God's every word and drink in the love found therein.
In all these ways the path is fragrant with his lovingkindness - His peace, His hope, His joy, His love. Let it cover you, inspire you, uplift you, and surround you. Breathe it in.
I used to live in a farming community in Pennsylvania. One day I got stuck on a winding two lane road behind a manure truck. Life can be like a manure truck. I followed the road I was on until I literally had tears running down my cheeks - the stench was that bad. Just when I thought I couldn't take another breath of this literal crap, the truck turned off the road I was on and headed down a dusty road. I threw open the windows of the car and I gloriously breathed in the fresh sweet air.
Every path he guides us on (even the rough, trial and frustration laden paths), are fragrant with his lovingkindness. We may not be able to breathe it in at every point along the path, but just as "weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning". Just as we may have to wait and hold our breath, God's fragrant breath of fresh air will break through.
Look for it, and when it comes, breathe it in.
Lord, thank you for promising to guide me along every path in life. Thank you that amidst the stench of life, you also provide fragrant lovingkindness to give me hope. Thank you that you come behind me and follow me with goodness and mercy all my life. In all these things, I thank you. In Jesus name, Amen.
ps. For Easter, we are trying to raise funds so that every child at Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan can have their own Bible in their own language. Will you join me at my "Missions" tab to read more about this wonderful school that is bringing light into a dark world and consider an Easter donation? Let us bring the fragrance of God's lovingkindness to these innocent ones. Thank you.
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