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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Saturday, May 2

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go.”
—Psalm 32:9

In the scriptural tradition, no one is self-taught. The testaments, both Hebrew and Christian, assume an understanding of the human person as one who is in communion with the living God and with our neighbors.

In fact, not being in communion, in relationship, is a sign of being less than human. Being self-willed and intent upon my own designs and desires, without reference to God and to others, is a sign of alienation and distrust.

By contrast, the psalmist hears God saying, “I will instruct you and teach you.” The psalmist writes from a context of perceiving the divine Presence as immediate and real. The question for the psalmist is: am I teachable? Am I open to instruction and guidance, or do I have my mind made up?  Waiting upon God’s nudging and suggestion, leading and guiding, makes for a very different way of living than most of us are accustomed to.

For one thing, impulsive behavior is seen for what it is—governed by impulse rather than prayer and reflection. For another, waiting upon God takes me out of the center of the action. I discover that I am not the Author of my being, nor am I the most important person in the room.

Years ago a spiritual director said to me, “The first lesson for you is slow down. Wait. Listen.”  Only then could I have a sense of the guidance that God was offering.

Gracious God, grant me the wisdom to slow down and to listen, to be open to seeing the way in which you would have me go. Amen.

The Signposts for May originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.