England’s three highest mountains are all located in the beautiful Lake District. On one side of the third highest, Helvellyn, is a ridge known as “Striding Edge”. If you are mad enough to “hike” along this ridge, you’ll discover that, at times, it involves some narrow paths/scrambling with pretty sheer drops for company. It isn’t always easy to know if you’re taking the best route past particular bits of Striding Edge, and you don’t always know what will be over the next little ridge, but if you want to climb Helvellyn that way, you’ve just got to keep going. At one particular point, you can make a choice to go up onto the top of the ridge, or to take a path round it, which most people take. Although the path going round looks like it should be the easier way, lots of scree actually makes it harder than going over the top on firm rock, although you don’t always realise that until after you’ve started.
Sometimes, life is kind of like going along Striding Edge. We have to make decisions about which path or route to take, and we don’t always know what will be over the next little ridge. Just as when hiking one uses a map (and sometimes a GPS) for guidance about which way to go into the unknown, in life we can look to God to guide us about which path to take as we head into the unknown. When hiking, the best route over steep, rocky bits may not always be immediately obvious, and one may need to take a bit of a risk when choosing a route. In life, when we hit steep, rocky bits and need to take steps of faith, it is good to know that we don’t do so alone, and that God will guide those steps too, if we ask Him.
I’ve mentioned previously (such as in this blog post) our current uncertainty regarding what will happen when I finish my PhD, and my need for a job in September/October. Over the last few weeks, I feel like I’ve been learning lots of lessons about trusting God with the unknown in our future and which route we should take as we get to the end of one season in our lives and start a new one. Sometimes I do better at trusting God than at other times. Come September/October, I don’t know whether I’ll be doing temp work, have a permanent job, begging or busking (though probably not the last one as public singing isn’t really my thing!), but I am beginning to have peace in the knowledge that I can trust in God, who does know what I’ll be doing, and ask Him to guide my steps along the appropriate path to get me there.