Lead kindly light amid th’ encircling gloom; Lead thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on.
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see The distant scene–one step enough for me.
John Newman penned these words in 1833 when he became ill and stranded in Italy on his way to England. The song mirrored his frustration with not being able to see or control the future. I have thought about this song on many occasions and identified with the sentiment.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now Lead Thou me on.
I loved the garish day, and spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: Remember not past years.
Sometimes I have the feeling of being “stranded” or without traction. But then I have conversations like I did today. “What are you working on,” one man asked. “Did I hear you say you are a pastor,” a woman in Starbucks asked. “I didn’t get one of those cards,” a person said at a Chamber function.
Where are these things going, I wonder. I want to “choose and see my path” as John Newman wrote. I want to know where these conversations are leading. What the outcome will be. What I can do to determine the outcome.
To my great frustration, I cannot control the future nor the result of relationships. I have to be content to do only what I can do and to trust God for the rest.
My greatest comfort comes from having a completely surprising conversation with a stranger. It is at those moments that I feel the most conscious of God’s moving in my life. Where it’s going I don’t know, but I’m not God.