I was driving home after running some errands on a warm morning a few days ago. It was another windy day, not at all unusual on a spring day – or on any day – in Kansas. I was driving down a fairly busy two lane road, though at this time of day there was not a huge amount of traffic. My thoughts were on what I needed to accomplish on this Monday after a very busy weekend. I had piles of laundry waiting for me at home, as well as cleaning and cooking to do. I was sorting out the priorities on my to-do list, lost in thought as I drove toward home. Up ahead, on the side of the road, I noticed some geese walking along. Their long necks and turning heads were obvious even from a distance away. Geese are very common here as they enjoy the many neighborhood lakes in the area, or gather in the farmer’s fields and eat whatever it is that geese like to eat out among the growing crops.
I hardly gave these geese a second thought as I drove toward them, although it did register that it was a little odd for them to be walking beside a road such as this. As I neared them, I saw why this group of geese was walking where they were without flying away to a safer location. There were several adult geese and between the two groups of adults there toddled several little goslings. These young geese were not tiny babies, but were still fluffy with soft down and very much in need of the guidance and protection of their parents. The adult geese were working to guide their young charges away from the road, for they sensed the danger that lay there. The baby geese were chirping and looking all around as they followed the direction of the lead adult goose. The parent goose in the rear was making sure that the babies stayed in line and didn’t wander off into danger.
Since no traffic was behind me, I was able to observe the geese for a minute. The parents surely weren’t very comfortable with this precarious situation, but they must have had a good reason for leading their precious babies beside this hazardous road. The baby geese totally trusted their wise parents, even though I imagine they must have wondered where they were headed and why this route was chosen. Or maybe the babies had strayed into this bad situation and the parents had no choice but to safely lead them out. The adult geese were diligent in their leading and in their protection of their babies. They could easily have flown away to their own place of protection, but the love of their babies held them there. The babies followed their parents, trusting them despite the noise all around them and the threat that was only steps away.
I had to drive away before I knew if this family of geese made it their destination. As I drove home, I thought of how similar our lives as believers are to those of the baby geese. We are in need of guidance as we walk the dangerous path of this world. It’s so tempting to run off in this direction or toward that temptation, even toward things that seem outwardly pleasing and innocent. Only God knows the right path that we should take. The only safe route for us is to follow Him, and we do that by reading our Bibles and spending time talking to Him. The road beside us may look appealing and desirable, easier to walk on than this bumpy path that God has us upon. But what does God have to say about that desire that we have? Is it safe? Is it one that will bring Him glory? Or is it full of hidden dangers that will leave me injured or even dead?
Our responsibility is to follow God, even when we don’t understand the course that He has chosen for us. The way may be full of loud danger that is close at hand, threatening to destroy us. We may fear that the trail is too rough and that we can’t handle what may come our way. Just as the baby geese trusted their parents in the midst of traffic and the uneven ground, we need to trust our Heavenly Father in the midst of the turmoil all around us and the fear within us. The baby geese had to walk through some scary and rough turf before they could make it to their destination, but they knew they could count on their parents to guide them safely there. We may have to walk through some tough times, too, but we have a Father Whom we can fully trust. He has a plan and a reason for the way in which He leads us.
David knew this concept very well as He ran from Saul and from danger, and had to trust God even when he didn’t understand the way or the reasoning. I imagine there were times that David felt he had a better plan than God, but he learned to let God be the One in charge. David learned the hard way that giving in to temptation only brought the danger home and the consequences were costly. In Psalm 5:8, David said: “O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; make Your way straight before me.” Our goal should be to let God do the leading and make our ways straight as we do the following and the trusting. So let’s follow our Father and fully trust His wise care.