I love to walk. I have a dog, so I seem to spend quite a bit of time doing it. It is good for my soul and allows space to ponder and to just take in the surroundings. Walking allows me to see things differently, allows me to see bits of the country or our towns that I would not see or maybe notice if I was in the car. It is good for my soul. However, I have been on many a walk though when I have been faced with the invisible peak, are you familiar with these? Having climbed up what usually seems like quite a step slope or mountainside towards what, I believed, was the top only to find that the challenge was not quite so over as I had thought. The new ‘top’ had been hidden from view or obstructed by a cloud or the first hill. I have at times wondered to myself that if I had only known how steep this walk had been, or how long, or how difficult would I have ever started it? There is an option to turn around and walk back, but somehow, that never seems like an option and after a chocolate bar on wards I travel.
I mention this because that is how I feel frequently with life and I have found in my relationship with God. I am 48 now and I look back at my life and I frequently say that if anyone had told me at 16 what it all was going to be like, I may have opted out of some of the parts. My life, as with us all, has been made up of immeasurable joys and depths of despair and heartache. There have been so many times that I thought that I had reached the destination, my destination, only to find that ‘something’ was asking me to seek for more or when I was in despair I felt that I was being pushed to move onwards. The ‘something’ that has been a constant in my life is my relationship with God. He has been a voice in my head and in my heart since I was 13 when I met him at a youth camp. I had been part of a Church community ever since I was born, but it took me to be in a field – camping, to meet and embrace God that knew me. That is the thing, we can meet him all over the place. Since then, my faith has been the constant. Of course, there has been many times, like with all relationships, when I have experienced a myriad of feelings from doubt to fury, from denial to joy, but somehow here I sit typing this wanting people to know the God that I know, the loving one.
Of course, as I human I would quite like to have some assurances that everything will be okay and turn out alright before I do anything, I can and I have questioned every decision that I needed to make and then run the risk of never moving and allowing fear to take hold. I have had to learn to lean into God. I have had to make peace and accept that he obviously has plans for me that I am not aware of. I have a pebble with the words: “for I know the plans I have for you” (Jeremiah 9), written on it, I carry it with me to remind me to have faith when I feel a bit wobbly. It helps!
Martin Luther King said “you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”, I just need to be brave and take the first step, with faith that God will show me the rest when I need to see it. I continue to be challenged by God, each time I think that I have reached the top of my virtual hill after resting for a while, I find that often there is another top just a bit further on. Of course, I could stop but just like with my walking, I know that although the route can be tough the views can be spectacular.