This is a guest post by Peter Knatt.
The street light outside our house is being replaced. Apparently it has been in place for the past fifty years, when this road was first constructed, and now is the time to change it. Before then there was no illumination at all along what was just a track leading into the woods. The old light has served us well, but the new light on its taller shiny steel pole will provide greater illumination to a wider area. The important point though is that the replacement lamp will still need the same electrical power that had supplied the old one, but it will use it more efficiently.
I wonder how many of our lives are a bit like that. Are we wandering along an unlit country track in darkness, tripping over the fallen branches or slipping on the muddy path with nothing to tell us that we are even on the right path at all? Then maybe we find a track which has the occasional light, some small form of illumination to guide us. It is not until we get to the tarmac road that we find some proper lighting. I know my life is like that.
The Christian path
Although baptised and confirmed in the Anglican tradition, teaching at Sunday school and taking part in the life of the local Church my Christian life has, shall we say, been a bit like wandering along a dimly lit path. Oh yes, I have tried my best to act in a Christian way in my life, both with my family and friends and also making a contribution to my community; but has it been enough? It certainly has seemed to be so in fact now at the age of 75 I think I am due for a rest.
However, it seems that God has other ideas! Earlier this year, with the encouragement from family and friends, I discovered that God had called to publish a Christian blog – how mind blowing is that? At my age it seems God still has a purpose for me, using me, guiding me, to proclaim God’s will and Word on the World Wide Web!
Illumination from a retreat
But that is not all! Oh no! God has recently called me to undertake an online Ignatian retreat. I am only on week two but the experience so far has been challenging to say the least. Being brought face to face with some of the chapters of life one would rather forget, and indeed has very successfully done so until now, is not a pleasant experience. But of course there are the good times, too, for which I am grateful. Did I thank God at the time? I think so; I hope so.
This week’s retreat session speaks of crossroads of which there have been a number in my life, as I expect is the case with most people. Looking back it is clear to me now that on several occasions God has said, “No, I don’t think it wise to go down that path, do you?” God has steered me on the right course even though at the time the alternative seemed quite attractive. Someone asked me why I was taking the retreat? What was in it for me? The answer I think is that just as the new street light throws its beam over a wider area of the street so this retreat will illuminate the dark corners of my life, as well as the lighter moments, enabling me to see myself more plainly but will also show me more clearly my relationship with God. In other words, it is not about me at all; it is about what God wants of me, how I can serve God better. “Non nobis Domine…” as the Psalmist says (Psalm 115:1).
I have no idea what is in store or what God wants me to do or where I’m being led,but I am sure that God knows. So, if you get a few spare moments over the next week or so please pray for me and for all those undertaking a retreat at this time.
Peter Knatt is a 75 year old father and grandfather living in England who was baptized and confirmed in the Anglican tradition many, many years ago. He finds much spiritual inspiration and comfort in his garden. Read more of his garden reflections at his blog, Reflections in the Water.
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