A Guide in the Great Stories
All the great stories tell us the same truth. A guide is indispensable. Frodo would have long given up on his quest to destroy the Ring if Gandalf hadn’t been there. Luke Skywalker would have never been able to defeat Darth Vader had not Yoda been his guide. And Harry Potter had to rely on the wisdom of Dumbledore to help him face off with Voldemort. Each character faced so many challenges and complexities that not having a guide would have spelled certain disaster.
But when it comes to the challenges and complexities of life, that’s exactly what so many men try to do — figure it out on their own without a guide. Such a life cannot go well. A good father or mentor can certainly be of great help here. But even the best of fathers and mentors can only take a man so far. He needs a guide that knows him intimately, understands his fears and desires, and can coach him forward. But does such a guide even exist?
The Promise of a Guide
The answer to that is a resounding YES! Jesus told His disciples that after He was gone, He would send another paraclete (John 14:16), a Greek word for which it is difficult to find an exact English word. It has been variously translated as advocate, comforter, and helper.
But the best way to understand it is to see it the way Jesus did. He described Himself as a paraclete because He was sending another one to take His place. How did Jesus work with His men? He lived with them, knew them intimately, and coached them into the ways of the Kingdom. He encouraged, challenged, taught, and guided them continually for three years. His promise is that another paraclete, the Holy Spirit, would do the same thing. But how does a man learn to connect to the Spirit in that way?
The Work of Spiritual Direction
This is exactly where spiritual direction comes in. My whole task as a spiritual director is to help a man become more attuned to the Spirit in his life. Through open-ended questions and silence, I have seen men learn to listen to the Spirit and to follow His whispers and promptings.
In fact, the first part of our mission statement is to help a man “find his guide.” This is exactly what we mean. When a man walks with the Spirit, life now becomes a keen adventure, filled with fresh vigor. He no longer feels like an orphan but a beloved son, coached and guided into the ways of the Kingdom. Watching a man come alive like this is one of the great joys of my work.
Do you need to find such a guide? Spiritual direction is not the only way to learn to listen to the Spirit, but it is certainly one of the most helpful. If you want to learn more about spiritual direction, click here. If you want to contact me to hear more, just reply to this blog.
Remember, you do not have to figure life out on your own. You were never meant to. Life can become the wondrous journey it was meant to be with the one true Guide at your side.