Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body.
Since taking on the role of Synod Moderator I have had to do a lot of travelling around the Synod. I only had the vaguest of understanding of the geography north of the Thames and so I have been heavily reliant on my satnav. Even for straight forward trips it has been helpful to estimate times of arrival and being offered detours when there have been problems – I just need to say M25 and you will understand! There have been times in the past when I have confidently said to my wife ‘Don’t worry, I know where to go!’ You can imagine the result. I have always prided myself in my sense of direction but, for instance, when I was walking the Pilgrim Way during my last sabbatical, on one leg I found myself back where I had started. I had gone full circle. So in physical travel I have had to learn not to lean on my own understanding and why should my spiritual life be any different?
When I left for university one of my youth leaders presented me with a Bible inscribed with verses 5-6 from this reading. It was a powerful reminder to me to keep focussed on God despite all the changes I was going through. It didn’t stop me from enjoying university, but it did mean that my faith remained central throughout. It enabled me to take a leadership role in the Christian Union but also to engage with student politics and remain authentically Christian.
Unfortunately the Bible isn’t always the clear cut handbook we might want it to be. Travelling on public transport in London an app that I have found really useful is Citymapper (other transport apps available). It will often tell me to walk in a certain direction. It took me a while to realise that the app comes complete with a compass. For me the Bible is as much about providing direction of travel with Jesus as the goal rather than going my own way.
Dear Lord, thank you that we don’t need to wander aimlessly through life. But you are able to give our lives direction. Remind us that when we do get lost or go astray, with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can re-route us to get us back on track. Amen
The Rev’d George Watt, Moderator of Thames North Synod