“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”Psalm 119:105, NIV
I was in southern Sudan, walking from the main house to our sleeping hut. I trusted that my “bush lamp,” a small kerosene lantern, would light my way through the darkness of the moonless African night, but the puddle of light before me was only enough to illuminate the next few steps, not enough to show me the small hut I hoped was lying ahead.
Becoming anxious, I stopped to hold up the lamp, stretching my arm out as far as I could. Where was the hut? Shouldn’t I be there by now? Am I even on the right path?
But I’d picked the wrong spot to stop and ask questions–right in the middle of a trail of army ants. They took advantage of my hesitation to let me know I’d annoyed them. Scurrying up my legs, they began to bite. Under this none-too-gentle prodding. I took off again, keeping to the bit of path I could see, trusting it would take me to my destination.
It did. And after I’d arrived—and removed all the ants—I had a chance to think. Like the oil lamps of Old Testament times, and like my bush lamp, his Word may light only a few feet of path. Yet often in life I want to see the whole path, the whole plan. I get a bit antsy when I can’t see where things are going. I find myself demanding to see the final destination. “Where are you taking me, Lord?” I ask. “I want a spotlight, not this feeble bush lamp!”
I need to remember that God often lights just enough of the path for me to take the next few steps. When I, in faith, take those first steps, the light moves forward with me and I can see the next bit of path to follow.
I was reminded of all this again today as I was studying the book of Acts. Peter was in prison awaiting his sentencing when an angel of the Lord appeared. Get up! Follow me! You may not understand what’s going on. You may not know where I’m taking you. Just trust. And follow me.
And Peter followed.
Peter had heard that call once before. “’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people’” (Matthew 4:19-20, NIV). Peter probably didn’t understand what Jesus meant by that. And I’m pretty sure he had no idea where they would all end up. But he left his nets and followed Jesus. He trusted Jesus.
Trust. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” Knowing that, and knowing Christ’s character, ability, strength, and truth, can you—will you—trust him?
I don’t know where you are right now. I don’t know what steps God is asking you to take. But I know this: don’t let that uncertainty cause you to just stop and stand still, afraid to move forward. Having heard his call, are you willing to follow? Can you trust God? Even when you don’t fully understand all that’s happening? Even when you don’t see the end of the road?
My prayer for you this week is this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Soul Refreshers for your week:
- Take some time to think about and pray about those things you believe God is calling you to do. Thank him that he is trustworthy. Commit the next steps to him. Perhaps, like the father of the boy possessed by a spirit, you’ll need to pray, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NIV)
- If you’re uncertain whether or not this is God leading, ask your pastor or a few trusted friends to discuss the matter with you and to pray with you for God’s clear guidance. (I recently asked a few friends to pray with me about a decision I had to make. A few days later, I had peace about the answer, even though it was not the answer I expected.)
- Consider memorizing a verse or two to recall when you need a boost to your trust level:
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
- “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4, NIV).
- “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:10, NIV).
- Listen—and sing along to—some of those great songs about trust.
- “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” by Louisa M. R. Stead and William James Kirkpatrick, is a great one. I love that chorus: “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him! How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh, for grace to trust him more!” If you’d like to listen to it, you’ll find one version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiEqKpN90W4
- Another song I find amazing is “Jesus, I Believe,” by Big Daddy Weave. Here’s just part of the chorus: “I’m standing on your promises. I know your words are true. You’re bigger than what I see. It’s you in exchange for me, ’cause even the impossible is your reality. Jesus, I believe.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eflxrL-c8rY
- What songs or choruses lift you up and help you to trust in God? Are there Bible verses you cling to when your trust is weakening? How about sharing with the rest of us.