by Benjamin Hammond
Hello. My thoughts and feelings recently have been very much towards the challenges I currently face, as is the case with most human beings. These thoughts and feelings have caused me to meditate about the path that we, as Christians, have chosen to embark upon and about what that path entails.
My first observation is that this, ‘path’ isn’t really a path at all. If it were a path, we’d be able to follow it with a basic ease. In fact, I’d say that the Christian journey is more like a barren wasteland – a vast desert with the horizon as the only apparent guide. It’s not simple, and it’s not necessarily easy. Well, no it’s not easy. The truth is, it just doesn’t make any sense sometimes. And that’s why I have compared it to a barren wasteland.
But why doesn’t it make sense sometimes? And if that is the case – and I am sure some of you will agree that this is the case – how can we continue? Well, to answer the first question I will present to you a simple truth. We are under construction. Every single part of our little souls is constantly being altered by the hand of God Himself. He’s taking away the bits that aren’t needed, moving one bit and putting it somewhere else, adding new bits – He’s doing all sorts to our souls! We are incomplete beings. We are still being created. One identifiable part of us that is always being altered is our understanding. I think that you will agree that your understanding as a baby is quite different to your understanding now, however old you are. That’s because it’s changed! And it will continue to change! God is changing us – so naturally it follows that we will not know what on earth is going on in our lives sometimes. We thought one thing was true at one point – and then the next our understanding has changed completely. It’s the bit in-between when our understanding is changing that throws us. This is why stages of life such as the toddler years, adolescence, and menopause are famous for being tough. Because they are mind altering periods of life. God is still making us – we are under construction, and this is why life can be a little confusing sometimes.
To address my second question (How on earth can we continue if we have no idea what is going on?) I will answer with a simple childlike quality. It’s called trust. Trust in what, you ask? Trust in God. I think it is fair to say that God – being God – knows what He is doing. The fact that God is God alone should be enough for us to have complete faith in God that He knows what He is doing, and to be able to summon enough strength to get on with our day to day lives, even in periods of confusion. You see, sometimes we can become consumed by our problems. What am I going to do next year? How will I earn enough money for this? I need to finish this task before this date etc. There are so many problems that we can think about and think about, and our thinking about them will only end up damaging us and making our problems worse. But, when we trust in God – when we say, I know that God is going to bring good out of this – things change. We begin to tackle our problems with God on our minds, rather than the problem on our minds. You could say God is like a drug (I wouldn’t lower Him to that – but purely for example). When He’s running through your mind, you don’t worry about things and you get on with them, rather than worrying about them instead of doing them. Involving God in your day doesn’t take the problem away, but it sure makes dealing with them an experience you can handle (or that God handles, rather), and what’s more – it becomes rewarding. This ‘path’ is tricky, but when we keep our eyes on the one who laid down the ‘path’ – we find we can conquer it with a Godly power.
To conclude, I will ask two more questions – hopefully to challenge you, and to give you an idea as to how this ‘path’ can be walked. The first is this: Are you teachable enough to know that you may sometimes be wrong? Because if we can agree that we are sometimes (if not most, or all of the time) wrong and accept responsibility for our circumstances – then we are in the right condition for God to alter us. Therefore, we are in the right position to grow in Christlikeness, and move a little further forward on this journey. The second is this: Are you childlike and humble enough to trust God? Because if you can say to yourself – “I don’t know it all, but God does – and God is for me” then you are in the right position to allow God to change you actively while you continue to live with the inner peace and security that you are in the hands of a master craftsman. Be aware of God’s presence as He walks with you on this journey, and as He carries you with the wind of His Spirit while you are idle and confused.
I know I probably should have begun with this, but, finally, here is a little extract from the Bible. The best advice for walking this ‘path.’ Do you know what I love about the Bible? God has communicated perfectly, with upmost clarity in eight words what I have taken to bluntly communicate in a few paragraphs:
Be still, and know that I am God.