by Susan Schrier Clouse
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)
I have always been a very goal-oriented and accomplishment-driven kind of woman in my careers as a paralegal and nursing home administrator. When I left the business world to go to seminary, my personality didn’t change, just my direction! I told my mentor that I kept praying to God to give me clarity about my future ministry, but that I wasn’t being given the “big picture” answer I so desired. My mentor responded, much to my frustration, that God doesn’t promise us clarity. God will not reveal to us the entire plan for our lives, but He will give us just enough light to see the next step in the direction He wants us to go.
It’s a lot like driving in the dark. Imagine your car’s headlights on an otherwise unlit country road. You can’t see very far ahead. You are very, very focused on the road right in front of you! You want to get home safely! If you think you know better than what that small patch of light is telling you, you might try to turn into the darkness, but more than likely you’ll end up in a ditch. Sticking to the light, even if the pace is slow, will get you where you need to go.
God’s Word is like that headlight, lighting up the path in front of us. Our light is God’s Word in Scripture, in prayer, in worship, and most profoundly in the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus asks that we follow Him, and following Him is what I try to do every day.
In the many years since that conversation with my seminary mentor, I have come to appreciate God’s wisdom in revealing His plan for my life, one little circle of light at a time. Sometimes, I admit, that I veered off into the darkness, or focused too far down the road than was good for me. Sometimes there were obstacles and difficult times I could have never navigated without Him. God was always with me, guiding me. When I am faithful to the light, my direction and purpose are clear.
I retired from pastoral ministry a few years ago. Recently, I have taken the time to look back at where I’ve been and see where I paid attention to God’s direction, and where I didn’t. And the most wonderful thing is that my retirement is part of the plan! God is using me in ways that never would have been possible had my energies been focused on pastoring a church. God’s will for each of us is amazing journey, if we will only follow His light.
What is your next step? Are you following Jesus? What is it that He wants you to do today? Don’t be afraid you might make a mistake! God uses every step we take, every experience, both good and bad, to draw us closer to Him and help us fulfill His will for our lives.
I came across this little poem by Scottish author, minister and poet George MacDonald to give you encouragement for today and the days ahead:
What God may hereafter require of you,
you must not give yourself the least trouble about.
Everything He gives you to do,
you must do as well as ever you can.
That is the best possible preparation
for what He may want you to do next.
If people would but do what they have to do,
they would always find themselves ready for what came next.
What is your next step? Let Jesus light your way.
And if the Scripture verse at the beginning, got you singing, “Thy Word” by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, here is a link to them singing it on YouTube!