He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Psalm 23:3
The retrospectoscope is a wonderful instrument for appreciating the fact of the Lord's leading. Those at the start of their careers can be encouraged by the life stories of others -- it is true that he leads. Sheep have to learn to know and respond to their shepherd's voice, and the ways in which the Good Shepherd leads are also learnt by experience and will have individual variations. We can be sure that we are not hearing his voice if we set foot on paths of unrighteousness or even of self-righteousness. The paths of his righteousness may at first sound narrow and forbidding to the uninitiated, but assurance of the Shepherd's constant care for his flock must surely assure us right at the start that he has our interests at heart. He leads not merely to satisfy himself, but to bring us into satisfying pastures, not personal, individual planning. Other paths may look more beguiling, and the right track may well require a committed will and self control. We may stumble and stray, but only as we find the paths where he leads shall we continue to hear the calling of his voice, to see the print of his foot and to be assured that we are not setting out into the unknown alone.
Doctors in training change jobs more than most other workers. Do we pray about which of the many doors we should try? When each house-job has scores, if not hundreds, of applicants, can we trust him to lead us to the post of his choice? The experience we glean, the colleagues we have and the contacts we make will all become woven into the pattern of our lives and can have important implications for the future. He alone sees the end from the beginning and is thinking today of our tomorrow. How vital that we ask him to lead the way and then follow. It is very likely for each of us that there will be times of great uncertainty and even of unemployment. Closed doors may be one way by which our paths are being directed. These setbacks need not mean that we are off his path: each of us needs to learn the value of developing patience in waiting upon God.
O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
Further reading: Jn 8:12. Ex 13:21-22. Nu 9:15-23.