Have you ever felt like you are stumbling through life? Sometimes, we cruise along with a sense of purpose and we know where we’re heading. Other times we are rocked by our world, life seems complicated and we worry about our future. As we stumble through those dark times, we wonder what the outcomes will be and yearn to know how we’re going to make it out to the other side. When we’re in the darkness we have a flashlight, a tool to help us navigate our way through it – the Bible.
The Bible can be one of the primary ways that God speaks to us giving us guidance for our life. It helps us to know what decisions to make, how to live the holy life, to keep us from being led astray, and how to live the abundant life that God intended for us. Yet, it only acts as a guide step by step, often only the next step is clear, not the whole journey.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
This is perhaps one of the most famous verses from Psalm 119 and indeed the whole Bible. It provides comfort and encouragement for many of us as we read God’s Word. Yet, have you ever thought about the symbolism in this verse and what it is actually saying. This verse is not comparing the Bible to the sun, something which illuminates everything leaving hardly a scrap of darkness anywhere.
As we travel along the path of life the light of guidance that the Bible gives us does not illuminate the whole path showing us clearly our destination. It is a lamp to our feet. It provides enough light to guide us step by step along the way. We may not have much idea of what lies further down the road, around the next corner or what our final destination will be but we have enough to help us take the next step.
It’s kind of like using sat nav in our car. When we are taking a new route, going somewhere we have never been before the driving experience using a sat nav system to guide us is very different to when we are taking a journey we are familiar with and we know what every turn and road is like to take us to our destination. When we are using sat nav we only have enough information to take us to the next junction or next road. We have to trust the system to give us the right information at the right time to take us the next step along our journey. We’re kind of travelling blind.
So it is as we navigate through life. We don’t know what life has in store for us, what’s around the corner and what manoeuvres we will need to take to get through. Yet, just as we need to trust our sat nav, trusting God in life is key, especially when our path seems particularly dark and treacherous. There have been times in my life when I have been walking a very dark path and I have prayed that God would show me the whole picture, how we are going to make it through. The times when my children were babies, times when following God’s call in ministry has seemingly gone wrong for us and times when my marriage has been tough going and my husband and I have lost the plot a little. However, usually God shows me just enough to get me through the next step.
The thing is, this isn’t always easy is it? Sometimes, we can cry out in the darkness, wondering how we can possibly keep going, not knowing where we are headed and what hazards face us along the way. We want to know, don’t we? We feel anxious and uncomfortable when we can only see a little bit of the journey. It highlights our need to be dependant on God and this is sometimes hard for us.
If we are facing difficult health issues, we want to know all the information we can so that we can remove as much fear and anxiety as we can. If we are facing financial worries we want to have a strategy to know that there is a clear way out. If we are struggling in our marriage we want to know the reassurance that things are going to be ok, that we will still live happily ever after with our spouse, rather than the worry that accompanies every argument and period of tension. If we are worried about our kids and difficult phase they are gong through, we want to see a path that takes us out the other side.
So, how is this verse a comfort? There is light, it may not reveal as much as we would like but there is light. The Bible offers us the comfort and guidance we need to take the next step of our journey. It may be some time before we reach our final destination and we may not know what else we will have to face along the way but we can trust in God and His Word for everything we need to get us through.
In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.
We need God’s Word and we need it daily. If we go through hard times and turn away from God and stop reading the Bible then we stumble around in the darkness and wander finding it hard to stay on the path. We become lost, disoriented and confused. The anxiety and worry take over and the darkness can become all-consuming. However, if we learn to depend on God through the difficult times and stay close to Him and His Word, He promises to guide us and help us through those hard times. We will find peace, comfort and security in the knowledge that He is by our side and shows us the way to go, step by step.
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Photo used with permission by Michael Faes courtesy of Stock.Xchng