Life doesn’t always go the way we would like it to. Sometimes the shores of our lives are hit with waves we were not expecting, and we watch the future we had planned wash away in it’s wake. These waves are different things for different people, one person’s tidal wave is another person’s splash. But whatever the situation was or is, we can all relate to that feeling of powerlessness. The realisation that we are not in control of our future.
My wave came this week, when I found out I would have to leave me lovely flat which has become my home. As yet I have no where else to go. Maybe this is not so big a deal in itself. But for me the challenge of juggling my currently fragile health with the stress of moving house, feels like watching a storm approach on the horizon. I wasn’t sure if I was up to the challenge.
It has brought me back to the words of a poem by John Henry Newman, famously set to music in the hymn ‘Lead Kindly Light’. These words were written by Newman when he was gravely ill on a boat in 1833. He thought these words would be his last as he lay, far from the nearest doctor. His opening words were:
LEAD, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home —
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene, — one step enough for me.
Sometimes in life we can become frustrated that God doesn’t show as the bigger picture of our lives, the distant scene he is painting. We hunger to know his meaning in our circumstances. We long to understand eternity here and now.
But when storms of life rage and the darkness threatens our view of the road ahead, we realise that all we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes we can see that God keeps the bigger picture hidden from us to protect us. There are times when the only way we can face life is one step at a time. And we simply have to trust that God will keep our feet on the right path.
We have a kindly light going before us. A God who loves and cares for His children, who will light the path before our feet if we let him.
The distant scene is in God’s hands not ours. We are called to simply keep walking the path He sets before us, with his strength in us.
I don’t know what the months ahead have in store. But for now one step is enough for me.