When I began writing some thoughts for this blog post, I was sat in the most Instagram-worthy spot you’ve ever seen: on a stoney beach, with the waves just about touching my toes, holding a black coffee and waiting for the sun to set over the horizon in front of me. I had spent the day at a little National Trust spot on the coast, with walks through gorgeous fields, a sweet little café, and then miles of beach with no-one else around. Bliss. It was one of those days that I’d taken away, a little bit unsure of whether it was going to feel like a great “spiritual reflection day”, or more of a chance to sit and breathe, and read my book, and just chill out for a while before resuming normal, crazy life.
Of course God showed up – what kind of Father wouldn’t leap at the opportunity to hang out with their daughter for a whole day? – and it became a day of wondering through the most Heather I’ve ever seen, chatting away to God and letting him restore me; exactly what I’d needed. It’s as if He knows these things.
On one of the walks that I took around the park, I was following a route marked out with orange arrows on the side of the path. It was a kind of muddy track, with tall trees on either side, and whenever the path forked, or there was more than one option of where to go, there was one of these arrows by the side of the path on a wooden fence post.
It’s moments like this that, I think, God uses to have a chuckle with me sometimes. As I walked, he whispered to me:
You’re not tied to one route, lovely girl. You could always go that other way, if you want. I have promised to never leave you, nor forsake you; but you always have a choice.
You could go the other way. You wouldn’t be walking away from me. But – it might not get you back to where you want to be. It might not be as beautiful as this path. It might not be as safe; there might be some dangers that this route is protecting you from. You might not meet the same people that are waiting, further down this route. The ground might not be as steady over there. Or, it might just be the long way round; maybe, just maybe, the arrows are there for a reason, baby girl. No-one’s stopping you from going that way; but there’s a reason this route is mapped out for you – trust me.
For me, that thought made sense, and brought peace and comfort as I carried on my walk, as only He can. I felt that that was a story to share; so know this, friend:
He sees you, and He’s looking out for you. He’s got a plan and a purpose that does not bring harm, but hope and a future. He’s a good Father, and he knows you more than anyone else ever can.
This is some of the truth of who we are, found in Romans 8:
“for you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received a spirit of Sonship” Romans 8:15
We do not have a spirit of fear, but we have a Spirit that makes us children – sons – of God. You have a place in God’s arms – and it’s not even about running back into his arms when we’ve done something wrong, but knowing that that is the place that we are, always. When we know that we are in his arms, that we are his kid and He is our Dad, there is no fear or condemnation – only sonship. A son is not just a son when he is living well; it’s a permanent title that we cannot mess up.
This is life with God – blessed are those with a pure heart, blessed are the peacemakers – not because they’re perfect, but because they’re stepping out in and living out of their sonshop as children in God – they’re living life with their Father, and soaking up the life and peace that comes with it.
“the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace… you, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature, but by the spirit, if the spirit of God lives in you”. Romans 8:6-9