“The path of the righteous is like
the first gleam of dawn;
shining ever brighter
till the full light of day.”
–Proverbs 4:18 NIV
I’ve been trekking along the path of the righteous since I was four years old, ever since I heard the story of Jesus dying on a cross to take the punishment each of us deserves for our wrongdoings. Miss Ruth, the storyteller, said if we asked him to forgive us, to be our forever Friend, and to take us to heaven when we die, Jesus would do all of that and more because he loves us so much. That very afternoon I prayed with Miss Ruth and embarked upon this adventurous* life-journey with Jesus.
Please understand: the path of the righteous has not been paved with my own righteousness. “I didn’t receive God’s approval by obeying his laws. The opposite is true! I have God’s approval through faith in Christ” (Philippians 3:9 GWT).
My Christian parents made sure the first gleam of dawn during childhood included many hours of Bible instruction in various settings. Sound boring? It wasn’t. The Bible contains some of the most exciting stories I’ve ever heard, and they’re true!
The first gleam of dawn also included practical lessons of faith:
During one of Grandma’s babysitting-visits, she promised to take my brother and me for ice cream. But when the moment came to leave, we couldn’t find the house key. The three of us looked everywhere; no key. Grandma suggested we pray. The three of us perched on the lower stairs while we asked God to help us.
No sooner did we say “Amen” than Grandma again headed to the drawer where the extra key was kept. She’d already searched there a couple of times, but this time there it was.
Now why hadn’t she seen it before? Perhaps so two little kids could learn that God hears and answers our prayers—even those of low-priority status.**
And as the years have passed, the faith-pathway has been shining ever brighter.
The Light of the world (John 8:12) has enlightened my mind and spirit, giving guidance and allaying fear. (To be truthful, I haven’t always followed his guidance nor have I lived totally fearless–but I’m learning!)
Sometimes God has directed, and I wasn’t even aware. My high school guidance counselor and two youth group sponsors at church happened to be alumni of the same Christian college about four hours away. Each of them took me to visit for homecoming and other events. Three years later I was attending that school, where I met my husband, Steve.
After graduating with a teaching degree, I failed to secure a job in or near the small community where Steve would begin his seminary training the following fall.
“Aren’t you worried about what you’ll do if nothing turns up?” a family member asked. I honestly wasn’t overly concerned, perhaps because the situation was totally beyond my control. I had no choice but to believe God would provide something.
At the beginning of August a principal called. Due to health reasons a veteran teacher had decided not to return; was I interested in the position? Three weeks later I was standing in front of my first class.
Fast forward through seminary, the births and raising of three children, the pastoral appointments for Steve in six churches, twenty-six years of teaching in four schools for me, and poof! We’ve traveled together forty-plus years down this path of the righteous.
And I’m still rejoicing that God bestows more light as the days go by. He shines ever brighter and will continue to do so till the full light of day—the day I arrive in heaven.
Robert Browning wrote, “Progress is man’s distinctive mark alone.” How much more so for us Christians, whose progress toward maturity and completeness results in a delightful, distinctive mark: we become lights on the path of life, shining like stars and reflecting the Lord’s glory (Philippians 2:15, 2 Corinthians 3:18).
We, too, can shine ever brighter till the full light of day. What a glorious privilege he gives us!
I’d love to hear a story from your path of the righteous. Please share in the Comments section below!
*By adventurous, I am not referring to the hang-gliding, rock-climbing, parachuting kind. Rather, the I-wonder-what-God-is-going-to-do-next variety!
**Of course, God does not intervene in every situation. Even the most faithful believers sometimes endure pain and problems. Yet, like another sufferer, Job, their hope in God remains strong. Their focus is on that day when all suffering will end and God will establish his perfect kingdom. Meanwhile, he is their strength and song (Exodus 15:2). Those saints are the true shining stars!
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