Signposts: Daily Devotions

Tuesday, June 17

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou are with me.
—Psalm 23:4

Thomas Merton, perhaps America’s most famous monk, writes in a passage from Thoughts in Solitude of a condition familiar to many of us: knowing ourselves to be lost, longing to be found, hoping to please God without really knowing how. This particular excerpt exemplifies its subject: listen to the tone of this prayer as it changes from fretful anxiety to radiant trust, as Merton travels toward the goal he seeks.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Gracious God, you lead us by the right road whether we know it or not, so long as we want to be walking in your way. May we trust you always, though we may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

The Signposts for June are written by Deborah Smith Douglas and originally appeared on in May 2005.