Day 23: Make Me Know Your Ways

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.

-Psalm 25:4

I’m thinking about paths. Wendell Berry writes about the differences between a path and a road. He notices that a road forces its way on the land. It goes the most direct way… it is planned for efficiency above all else. Any obstacles that are in its way must be seen as an impediment to be removed.

As Berry puts it, “A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity… It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, thorough experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around. A road, on the other hand, even the most primitive road, embodies a resistance against the landscape. Its reason is not simply the necessity for movement, but haste. Its wish is to avoid contact with the landscape…” 1

When the Psalmist asks the Lord to teach him His paths, I think these paths are like the ones Berry is describing. I think they are inherently about knowing. They have purpose, yes, but they pay attention to their surroundings. They move and adapt. There is a certain grace about them.

If there isn’t grace on your path, you may not be on the right path at all. Lent just might afford us the opportunity to step back and see what sort of journey we are on. Are we on a super highway, hell bent on efficiency above all else? Or are we on the Lord’s path?

By Nate Sell, Senior Columnist


  1. (from the essay “A Native Hill” in The Long Legged House, 207).
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