Leading the way…into the unknown…
We are living in very strange and uncertain times at the moment, aren't we? Many people are getting used to a new 'normal', whilst others are still very confused, disturbed or even frightened.
When God told Moses that he was to lead the Hebrew people out of their lives of slavery in Egypt, (which had become the new 'normal' for them for over 400 years) and to the ‘Promised Land’, Moses and the people had no idea where they would end up, where this ‘Promised Land’ actually was. They were given a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire by God to lead them and to assure them that they were on the right path. All they had to do was trust and have faith.
Throughout our lives we face so many challenges and changes. Nothing ever seems to stay as it is. Things are always moving and changing, particularly over these last few weeks as we struggle to adapt to the required changes to our lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is also true of relationships. Dear friends leave, move on or pass through to eternal life. It’s often really difficult to come to terms with changing circumstances and situations, particularly when we have grown used to and comfortable with things and people as they are.
These experiences of change can make us feel very sad, so sad in fact that it seems like a bereavement, and we grieve and lament about what we are losing, or have already lost.
Not being able to see the next stage or to glimpse our destination can be disconcerting and disturbing. It can feel like we’re stumbling through a fog and sometimes that can be daunting and very frightening.
However, we too, like Moses and the Hebrew people, are given a pillar of cloud and fire, we are given the strength and presence of God’s leading and encouragement during all of those times of challenge and change as we head out into unknown and strange territory.
In times of uncertainty and challenge, I personally find that maintaining my daily, weekly and monthly rhythm extremely helpful; daily Morning and Evening Prayer, regular work times, mealtimes, sleep times and relaxation times. This enables me to give context and structure to each day and avoids the foggy blurring of one day into the next, and also keeps me connected to God, seeking his guiding and leading through the unknown next part of the journey with him.
All that God asks of us is to be faithful and trust in his leading and guiding presence. He knows where he is taking us on our various journeys and only he knows where our destination will be. Our calling is to trust in him through all of the times of challenge and change.
If we can do this, we will indeed find ourselves truly blessed and discover the ‘Promised Land’ of peace and love and joy.
During these challenging and uncertain times, let us hold fast to this glorious and hopeful truth.
With every blessing this May.
The Revd Paul Wilson.
Rector of The Benefice of the Epworth Group of Churches