“Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.”
‘Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.’
Extract of a poem quoted by Elisabeth Elliot
“Faith never knows where it is being led but it loves and knows the one who is leading.”
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
MY PRAYER today is that we might have the courage, the wisdom, the fortitude to ‘do the next thing’. Vaneetha Rendall Risner tells in her blog, ‘Dance in the Rain’, the story of Elisabeth Elliott. According to Vaneetha, the poem ‘Do the Next Thing’ (abridged above), was loved by the mother of Elisabeth Elliott, and Elisabeth herself found it helpful when after serving in the mission fields of Ecuador, her husband Jim was killed, leaving her alone with an infant daughter.
Elisabeth said in her book, ‘The Shaping of a Christian Family’, ‘When I went back to my jungle station after the death of my first husband, Jim Elliot, I was faced with many confusions and uncertainties. I had a good many new roles, besides that of being a single parent and a widow. I was alone on a jungle station that Jim and I had manned together. I had to learn to do all kinds of things, which I was not trained or prepared in any way to do. It was a great help to me simply to do the next thing.’
I wonder today what is our next thing to do? For some of us we can have an insurmountable number of things to do and we don’t know where to begin. For others of us, we might be feeling paralysed by the fear of being adequate to do what is asked of us, for others confusion might reign and we don’t know what the best thing, or the right thing to do is, or even how to do it if we knew. Our pastor Rob reminded me today in his sermon, ‘be transformed’, of the importance of scripture in guiding us. That wasn’t his full message, but it was the nugget of truth I took out of it, because it was right what I needed. It is for me, ‘the next thing’. When I don’t know what to do, I am not to take a step that is not backed up by His word. When we live in a world of changing cultures and varying messages, the only thing that stands true and can be counted on is His word. When we don’t know what to do, His word is the ‘light under our feet’. Today may we hold on to our lights and be led, one thing at a time.