Tuesday, 18 February 2020

God's Guidance

Rolling over, Lily swallowed at the gritty lump in her throat. Of course she needed someone else. Like her baby, Samuel, she could not exist in this world alone. She would wither, grow frail, and die. No one—not even the most powerful human on earth—could live without sustenance and nourishment. 

“Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” 

Lily clenched her teeth as the silent words filtered into her heart. She had memorized them long ago in Sunday school. Meaningless words. How could Jesus Christ quench this burning thirst inside her? How could he become the nourishment that would fill her? 

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” 

But her emptiness went too far! It was all-consuming. Her very soul was devoid of hope and life and love.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” 

Lily turned until she was lying flat on her stomach, her arms stretched out and her tears wetting the crushed grass. Would Christ really come and dwell inside her as he promised? Could his Spirit really fill the emptiness? 

Oh, Lily knew she needed more than filling, though. She needed guidance so she could keep from making such foolish mistakes. She needed direction. She needed a clear path. 

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” 

Unable to move, Lily sobbed out. “God, be my water and my bread. Be my light. Be my friend.” 

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” 

But what did God command her to do? She had spent so much time in his presence, yet she had never truly understood him. For many years, she had been able to do nothing but cling to the hope of God’s protection from her father. 

Now she understood that difficulties would come her way. Elijah, the preacher who cared about her, had explained that God never promised to protect her from all evil—instead, God had vowed to stand beside her and hold her in his loving arms. She could confidently place her trust in his constant presence, light, nourishment, and guidance. But what did he want of her in return? 

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” 

Lily let out a deep breath. Believe. Surrender. Give up the anger, the bitterness, the confusion, the doubt. Stop being a child, and become a woman with the courage to place her life in the hands of a living Savior. 

“Yes, Lord,” she murmured. “I confess my failure. I believe. I surrender. I give you my soul.” For a long time she lay in silence, reveling in the sweet calm that slowly crept through her. Katydids buzzed in the trees overhead. The scent of fresh earth and sun-warmed grass bathed the air. 

Not far away, the Bluestem Creek gurgled its way toward the Kansas River. When she finally felt fully at peace, she curled up onto her knees. Around her, the darkness of the Kansas night wrapped her in a warm cocoon. It hadn’t been hard at all. Just a few words and a release of what she had been trying to carry on her own. Now she would never walk alone again. 

Feeling the weight of the little hymnal in her pocket, Lily reached for the book. It was too dark to see, but still she opened it, fingering pages filled with words she knew so well. How odd that she had been brought up to know Christ, and yet she had never given herself to him—until now. She began to sing softly. 

“My faith looks up to Thee, 
Thou Lamb of Calvary, 
Savior divine! 
Now hear me while I pray, 
Take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day Be wholly thine! 

While life’s dark maze I tread, 
And griefs around me spread, 
Be Thou my guide; 
Bid darkness turn to day, 
Wipe sorrow’s tears away, 
Nor let me ever stray From Thee aside.”

Excerpt from "Prairie Fire" by Catherine Palmer.