One step at a time
A Collect for today
Give us insight
To discern your will for us,
To give up what harms us.
And to seek the perfection we are promised
In Jesus Christ our Lord
This prayer got me thinking about how we can discover what it is that God wills for us. In today’s reading from Daniel the prophet states ‘God gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding, He reveals deep and hidden things, and what is asked of him’. The Psalm for today (25) states ‘make me to know your ways, and teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me,’ and the New Testament reading has Peter asking Jesus about forgiveness. All these passages tell us that God knows the answers to our questions, will bestow on us appropriate knowledge and lead us along the right path. So why do we stumble and fall and spend agonised or confused hours in prayer and contemplation seeking enlightenment and direction?
Maybe it’s because we spend too long talking and questioning and not enough time listening. Listening to God but also listening to others. We are not alone in this. Our God is a loving Father who cares, and our church is a caring community who loves. One way we can gather God inspired guidance or just support through our dilemma is from his family on earth. Praying and sharing together may give us the confidence or belief we need to go where we are feeling pulled.
I read this week that ‘God has not promised us a spotlight into our future, but only a lamp for our feet’. Martin Luther King said that sometimes we have to take the first step in faith even when we can’t see the whole staircase. This is possibly the hardest and scariest thing to do where God is concerned. Having the faith to trust he can see the whole flight, that there will always be a banister, that there might be missing steps and that it doesn’t matter if we only ever get to the first floor. An article in Christianity Today said sometimes we can become too concerned about God’s specific will for our life at the expense of forgetting his universal will for all our lives – 90% of which is the same for all people. Maybe if we worried less and concentrated on that 90% - following God’s commandments, loving God and one another, the 10% would become a whole lot clearer.
Lent and Advent are traditionally used as periods of listening, of seeking God’s will, of dwelling in his word. Let’s together take one step at a time and trust that God is there, one step behind or in front, wherever we need him.
Not my will, but yours. Amen.