On Saturday 2 November 2013 I went for a walk in the Kent countryside and God spoke to me through that walk. Here is what I wrote down the day afterwards, so I could share it with our Church. The relevance to our own lives at that time is clear.
Yesterday I went for a walk in the countryside. Partway through my walk I reached the very outskirts of Westerham. It was raining, and as I walked into the start of a new path it began to rain very heavily and the wind also became quite strong.
I was sheltering under some tall holly bushes, just in front of a gate into a field. I leant on the gate and looked at the rain. As I looked, I had a sense that the field with the wind and the rain was like the work which God calls each one of us to do for Him. The work was out there in the field, but I was sheltering under the holly bushes, just looking.
How many of us are sheltering under the bushes, just looking at the work God wants us to do, too afraid of the rain and the wind?
I opened the gate, but continued to stand there, looking at the rain. I had taken one obstacle out of the way – the gate – but I still wasn’t going anywhere.
Maybe you have dealt with an obstacle in your spiritual life, but you are still standing there, looking at the rain and the wind, looking out to where God’s purpose is for you, but still not moving?
After a little while I took a deep breath and walked out into the field, out into the rain and the wind. The gate closed behind me. It felt good to be out there, with the rain lashing into my face and the wind tugging at my clothing.
It was easy enough walking across the level grass at the beginning, but ahead of me was a steep bank. There were two ways to get up the steep bank. To the right, if I took a curving route round, I could follow a track under the shelter of the trees at the edge of the field, out of the rain and the wind. The direct route was straight ahead up the steep grassy bank.
It’s easy to follow God’s will when the path is level and there are no problems. How tempting it is to duck back out of what He wants us to be doing when the going gets a bit tougher, back into the shelter of the trees, returning to being an onlooker, not a “doer” of God’s word and will.
I launched up the steep grassy bank. It really was steep. After a little while my legs began to hurt and I started panting for breath. My feet slipped in the mud a few times. God’s work is not always easy, sometimes it is hard going, sometimes it will hurt, sometimes we may slip. But it’s better by far than being under the trees as an onlooker.
As I crested the bank I could see ahead the rain sweeping across my route in great curtains and the wind whipping the trees. Walking on, I thought “I’m a walker, this is where I belong, this is where I should be, out in the rain and the wind!” You’re a Christian, this is where you naturally belong, this is where you should be: doing the work God has called you to.
A little while later the rain stopped and the clouds parted. The sun began to shine bright and clear. Under the trees at the edge of the field it was still dark, the sun did not reach the trees. We will find the light and the glory and the warmth of God’s presence when we are where He wants us to be, doing what He has called us to do, not if we are hiding under the trees, too afraid to do His will.
So God’s challenge to you, if you are sheltering under those holly bushes, behind the gate, looking at the rain and the wind, is this: open the gate and walk out into the rain, into the work which He has called you to,
don’t hesitate any longer.
And keep walking up that steep grassy bank, even though it hurts at times and it is hard going and you may slip occasionally. Keep walking: you are a Christian, this is where you belong, doing the work God has called you to. Keep walking and you will find the light and the glory and the warmth of God’s presence: it’s there, out in the open, the place God has called you to, not under the trees where the onlookers are.