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Buckley’s not the rambunctious, power-cord-chewing pup we brought home 12 and a half years ago. As he’s aged he’s settled down into the best dog we’ve ever had. But in these past few months he’s grown anxious and hesitant. The sound of a knife on a cutting board startles him, and when the storm clouds sound in the distance we’re quick to grab the Thundershirt. I confess, he has his own bottle of doggie Prozac.

We recently moved into a new home that has some hardwood floors. It’s like taking a geriatric dog to the ice rink. Buck did OK for a while, but after one masterful slip and slide, he’s become completely skittish. Won’t step foot on the wood—even though it’s his only path to the back yard. Instead, he’ll prance at the edge of the carpet, panting longingly for the slider door that’s just 15 feet away. The amount of coaxing needed to get him across the wood floor would make your eyes either tear up or roll. So, we (OK, I) devised a strategic system of rugs, runners, and carpet remnants so he can maneuver through the house, barely stepping on a hard surface. Yes, we’re I’m pathetic.

It’s not stylish, but it works. Our dog quickly nailed his new route, and has not strayed from it once. He has his own path. Watching him, that old Sunday school song pops into my head: “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Hmmm. Path.

Unless I’m walking in some woods, or shoveling snow, I don’t usually think about a path. I’m able-bodied and can get around fairly well. I have paved sidewalks, roads, and highways to get from one place to another. I have Mapquest and GPS to tell me which way to turn. But in ancient days, the concept of a path was an important one. There were some roads, rough and uneven, built with stone and wood, but there were mostly paths, and feet walking on paths. One slip or fall, one sprain or break, could have dire consequences for a person or animal in that society. Thinking of this helps me understand why there are more than 100 references in scripture to a path.

You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. 

2 Samuel 22:37

Sure, I’ve made a path for our dog in his old age, but God has made a more significant path for me and for you. With scripture and prayer to guide us, we not only make it down his path, we can run down it fearlessly, knowing that God has made our paths straight.

Today, as we go about–driving to work, running errands, or walking our dogs—let’s hold fast to the words of the psalmist:

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. 

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. 

Psalm 119:32 and 35.

Journeying together In Him,