by Catriona Futter
In Scotland, as in many parts of the world, most of spring and early summer were spent in lockdown, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our physical worlds became very small, limited to what was on our doorstep. A recent family holiday to Arran, a beautiful island off the Scottish west coast, was therefore even more of a treat for us. Known as Scotland in miniature, there are glens, lowlands, lochans, mountains, forests, beaches – the lot. And much weather of every kind. On a particularly stormy day, we walked along a rocky coastal path towards some impressive caves. Our destination was clear, but to all intents and purposes, there was no obvious path through the rocks at all. We had to trust the authority of the signpost pointing the way and start out.
And lo and behold, as we took each step, the next few became clear – worn down footholds in the rocks, gaps to clamber through. A definite path was revealed, but only a few steps at a time. Looking back from our destination, it was impossible to pick out our route.
As we emerge from lockdown, it feels that life is even more uncertain. Questions hang over much of normal life – employment, schools, travel, finances, work opportunities, quarantining. It can feel that not only do I now not have clarity about the destination I am seeking, but the way there seems even more obscure than before. There seems no clear path, and that can lead to a sense of paralysis or inertia brought on by fear and overwhelm. I know my natural tendency in this kind of situation is to seek to regain control – to want the path to be clearly mapped out ahead of me so I know what to do next. But this denies God the opportunity to show His sovereign wisdom and authority over my life. He promises to show us the way.
Psalm 119:105 is one we are all likely familiar with: Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
What words are we listening to that give us direction – those of the world? those of the enemy? or those of God?
Because the day-to-day reality of living out Ps 119:105 is to pay attention to the words we are listening to and whether they are directing us towards God and reliance on Him, or away from Him and reliance on ourselves. We don’t know the path through recovery from this pandemic. If we listen to words of the enemy, spoken through the world or through our own wrong beliefs and expectations, we will quickly lose our way. But as Christians, we trust that not only does God know the way through this, He has the light to show us each step. His role is to know the destination and the path, to light the way, and to be with us at each step. Our role is to surrender to His authority and simply take the next step, trusting that He will show us the one after that when we get there.
This is a daily choice to trust and not to fear. To surrender our need to know and to control, and to trust that the God who knows each of the stars by name has got this and is in control. As coaches, we listen for it in our client’s language, as what they are believing about themselves and what they are trusting for direction becomes clear. What a privilege to empower them to come back to that perfect Word that shows us the next step.