“This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16 NIV
I was sitting in my living room working through the feelings I was experiencing in what those in charge of our national response to COVID called, “15 Days to suppress the curve”. Vice President Pence was asking citizens to do their part to stop the curve of the virus spread. That seems like forever ago and when I think about it, I laugh. 15 days felt like an eternity then and now its standard quarantine minus a day if you are directly exposed. While working this through in my mind at that time, I felt the urge to revive my writing passion and begin a blog. The purpose was to help my church family and others to be comforted in a very ambiguous season. Pastorally I wanted to help people with the Word and remind them of God’s presence during a very scary time. Rest for the soul was the mission. Now, over a year later as we continue to muddle through COVID with a new administration, the ambiguity still exists. It may seem even more confusing at times than it was when it all began. Rest for the soul is still in high demand.
The words of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah the prophet caught my attention. These words are to a nation who has lost relationship with the who and what it was founded on. Sound familiar? They have neglected their life source and have turned their backs on foundational truths that made them the nation belonging to God. They went after idols, served other gods and somewhere stopped asking the right questions that would bring them to good places. Isn’t that what we need right now? We could use some good news, courageous leadership and compassionate messaging that brings direction but also peace in the middle of conflict. We need a good Winston Churchill speech about now. Have we lost our peace in surrender to worry and discouragement? We need to stop and ask the questions... “What are the ancient paths and where is the good way?”
Jeremiah was speaking of God’s Word, His ways when referring to the Ancient Paths. The command is to stop and ask God what He thinks, what He has written and then follow them. This is what leadership is to do. No matter if you are president, parent or pastor, we need to stop, ask God for help and find His direction for those we are leading in His Word. Here is were we truly find rest for our souls and wisdom for the decisions we must make as leaders. I believe our times have revealed the truth that we are in a leadership crisis. Somehow this virus became President of the Free World. This type of environment is producing angst in parents with young families, employers who need workers and small business owners who thought they made it safely out of a pandemic only to be told they may be shut down again. Pastors in every denomination and independent work feel the pressure of making decisions with information that is constantly changing. Add the social and mainstream media influence of agitation, shame and guilt and you have a toxic atmosphere that produces more panic than peace. We need the Ancient Paths.
God’s ways have not changed. His Word is eternal! They have been proven over centuries. They are “Ancient Paths”. The words He is asking us to follow have life and are full of wisdom. People who are walking in the good ways of God’s Word and power in His Holy Spirit are at rest because when they felt the wave of chaos crash against their soul, they didn’t meet it political commentary or opinion. Instead, they asked the right questions and got the right answers that put them on the right path. The result is rest. Not absence of conflict, but rest in their soul.
Today, instead of moving forward into the chaos with angst, confusion and opinion, I ask you to stop. Take a breath. Get in the Bible and ask the right questions. Ask for the Ancient Paths and the good way and then make the decision to walk in it. There your soul will reset in God’s Word and you will find rest.