Kenneth Bailey on "do not bring us to the time of trial"

When travelers take long camel trips into the deserts of the Middle East, they must have a guide. The guide knows how to reach the destination. Without that information the traveling party will die. From experience I know that selecting the right guide must be done with great care. The party must trust the guide and have full confidence that he knows exactly where he is going and will not play Russian roulette with their lives. They must feel that the guide is capable of coping with any emergency that might arise on the journey.

Some years ago, in Egypt, my friends and I made a number of extended trips into the Sahara to visit a famous well. For that particular journey we always selected “Uncle Zaki” as our guide. He was a self-confident, humble man with enormous personal dignity. He never walked in the desert but flowed over sand and rock like a ship moving gently through calm seas. His gait was akin to a slow run and was beautiful to observe. As we would leave the village on the edge of the Nile and head out into the almost trackless Sahara, each of us in turn felt the inner pressure to say, “Uncle Zaki, don’t get us lost!” What we meant by that statement was, “We don’t know the way to where we are going, and if you get us lost we will all die. We have placed our total trust in your leadership.”

We were not saying to Uncle Zaki, “We don’t think we can trust you, and are nervous lest you get us lost. Please don’t do so.” If that had been our view we would never have followed him out of the village. The phrase in the Lord’s Prayer expresses the confidence of an earthly pilgrim traveling with a divine guide. The journey requires the pilgrims to affirm daily, “Lord, we trust you to guide us, because you alone know the way that we must go.” This affirmation of the trusting traveler reflects the confidence of the community that prays this prayer.

Kenneth Bailey Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes p. 128, 129

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