Each of us is following a path chosen for us by God. Nothing on our life’s journey is coincidence. Even before I became a Christian I’d never believed in coincidence. As I look back on my life I can clearly see God’s hand in each and every circumstance.
This leads me to a scripture that is very dear to my heart and one I hold on too.
Jer 29 v 11:12:13
I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me and I will listen to you.
And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.
The same scripture in the message bible reads:
I know what I am doing. I have it all planned out, plans to take care of you, not abandon you. Plans to give you the future you hope for.
When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.
I know these words to be true, because I searched desperately, and I found Him. Or should I say He found me; and oh the joy that flooded my soul.
My life, as far as work went was good. But I was unfulfilled and dogged by depression and fear. Towards the end of my singing career, I found myself like Christian in John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrims Progress’ searching the bible. I didn’t understand a word of it, but like Christian I knew deep down it was the key to eradicating my fear, distress and lack of purpose. Mind you I have to say there was one part in Rev that I understood perfectly well. I knew without a doubt my name was not in the Lambs book of life, and that knowledge really scared me.
Even as a none believer I somehow knew the bible was true. It was the word of life, and I needed that life…I began searching for that life.
These paragraphs from Pilgrim’s Progress, express how I felt:
One day, deeply distressed, his shoulders bowed under the heavy weight of a huge burden, Christian stood outside his house, reading a book, whose contents made him weep and tremble? From time to time he would cry out, “What shall I do?”
Bowed by his burden, Christian spent his time alone, either weeping and praying in his room or pacing the countryside studying his book. At last one day, half-way across a field, he came to a halt, and cried out in despair, “What must I do to be saved?”
My desperate search took me along many different paths, none of which felt right. I knew religion was not the answer. I was looking for something much deeper.
My unsuccessful search for the truth threw me into a deep despondency and I began drowning my sorrow and frustration in alcohol.
Like Christian, trapped in the slough of despond I seemed to be getting nowhere. But unlike Pliable, Christian’s companion, I struggled on and kept searching, becoming more and more desperate.
Pilgrim’s Progress The slough of despond:
Soon both men were wallowing waist-high in the mud and filth of a swamp, called Slough of Despond. Pliable, by nature easily discougeged, struggled to reach the nearside bank, reproaching Christian with the words, “Is this the joy you promised me? I dread to think what dangers lie ahead! If I get out of this bog alive, you can go on alone, to your precious city!
Regaining the safety of the bank, Pliable headed for the city of destruction, leaving his companion to flounder in the swamp, whose boggy condition was maintained by the fears and doubts of those who became conscious of their sins. Here Christian might have remained, but for the aid of a man called help, who took his hand and pulled him clear.
My own hand of help came in form of a lovely Jamaican man called Ron. He was a friend of the family. When I talked to mother about my worries and my constant search for God, she instantly thought of Ron, telling me how she noticed he always said grace before a meal. My heart leapt with hope.
It makes me realise now how important it is that we show God in our lives. Even in a smallest way, it doesn’t matter, people are watching. And one day if like me they need help…become conscious of their need of God, they will know where to come.
Suffice to say Ron pointed me in the right direction. He introduced me to his pastor and after talking with him a few times, the pastor invited me to a Christian conference, where I gave my life to Jesus, and began my journey from darkness to the light.
Was my life suddenly easy, free of problems and difficulties? No, like Christian in Pilgrims Progress, I very quickly found myself under attack by the enemy. As a new Christian my life had its ups and downs, its joys and its terrible sorrows.
I confess, I can be a bit like Pliable, easily discouraged. Nevertheless, I kept going, never doubting for a moment that God in His infinite mercy is leading me on the narrow path towards His celestial city.
Each of us on our own personal journey, which at some point in our lives, is bound to take us through the valley of the shadow of death. But as children of the great Shepherd we are brought safely through and more often than not, as we journey we find ourselves leaping with hind’s feet on the mountain tops.
Even though as Christians we all follow the narrow path, as I’ve said before, each ones journey is different. God enables each of us to cope with the trials and tribulations we are sometimes forced to face. Each person’s journey is perfectly suited to them. We are pilgrims and God knows the way we take. He travels with us, keeping us safe, comforting and encouraging us as we follow him to our final destination the Celestial City.
So I would encourage you. As you journey through life. Live it to the full. Seek to fulfil your dreams no matter what age you are! And let’s always encourage each other to remain on the narrow path and keep following our Saviour Jesus Christ; that our lives would be to His Glory and Praise.