“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
I recall one particular occasion when I asked myself, “Why am I here? (again!) How did I get here?” The dialogue continued as I asked, “God, what are you doing? What are you trying to teach me?” I stopped and recognized that God does everything on purpose: Indeed, to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiates 3:1). I was also mindful of my “life-verse”, a scripture that has become especially meaningful to me–Romans 8:28:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
My sister, Cheryl, a retired middle school teacher, reminded me that when I encounter perplexing situations and find myself where I don’t want to be that I should think of those times as “teachable moments.” She shared that God is directly involved in the situation and that He is endeavoring to do one or a combination of five things: “Direct you; Inspect you; Correct you; Protect you; Perfect you.” The words that she shared had a profound impact upon me, as I thought deeply about her comment.
Later I took those five verbs and formed them into a request, a petition, a prayer to God for me. I asked God to become the initiator of the action, and I would become the object of his action. I also examined each of the verbs with scriptural illustrations from the Old Testament and New Testament and composed a prayer/psalm inspired by each verb at the end of each section related to each of the five verbs. In writing out my personal application of the scriptures, I also incorporated music related to the verbs as well. All of which I am now sharing on “Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe” with one daily entry devoted to each verb over the next five days.
Direct Me—Inspect Me—Correct Me—Protect Me—Perfect Me
To more clearly understand the meaning of the word “direct” I went to the Old Testament and the New Testament to see how the term has been used. I found the following definition which is used in the scriptures listed below:
After reading this definition, I immediately thought of a familiar hymn from my childhood and sung countless times down through the years:“Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”
Many times when I encounter situations where I need God’s guidance and direction, I recite Proverbs 3:5-6, verses committed to memory more than 40 years ago:
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Another song I recall from childhood days in Gary, Indiana in the 1950s was “Lead Me, Guide Me.” Composed by Doris Akers, one of the most popular gospel songs of that era, “Lead Me, Guide Me” is offered in this version on Imperial Records with the composer singing all the parts.
Another scripture related to the verb “direct” is found in Jeremiah 10:23:
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
If I had to choose my all-time favorite “old time” gospel song related to this topic, it would be “Order My Steps in Your Word” sung by the Mimi Redd and the Gospel Music Workshops of America Women of Worship:
The following two verses also involving the verb “direct”:
I Thessalonians 3:11:
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.
II Thessalonians 3:5:
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
My expounding upon the above scriptures and music inspired this psalm:
Prepare the way, straighten my path, order my steps,
Shine your light upon me that I may not stumble,
That I may not walk in the light of my own sparks,
But illumine my way with the lamp of your Word.
Lord, direct my heart into the love of God
And into the patient waiting for Jesus Christ.
Raise me up in righteousness and direct all my ways.