…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Knowing Where We Are Going

By Eric Chaffey


I’m not necessarily the best navigator in the world. I am not awful, but sometimes I do get confused. I have learned a lot about how to get where I’m going since moving to the foreign city of Sacramento California a year ago. But one thing of prime importance is knowing the destination and being clear about its address.At one point in my exploration of the city, I was looking for an antique store. I looked at the address and thought, “Oh it’s on 10th. I know exactly where that is.” Therein lies the problem in knowing precisely what 1oth means. In Sacramento, it could be 10th street, or 10th avenue, or North 10th Street which is in a different area than 10th street. 10th avenue is in an entirely different neighborhood than either of the two 10th streets. Are you confused yet? Needless to say, with my “certainty” of knowing where it was, I didn’t find the antique store on that trip. But I did learn a valuable lesson.

This afternoon I was meeting some friends of mine for lunch at an In and Out burger in a section of Sacramento called Natomas. Once again I was sure I knew exactly where it was, and which In and Out location it was, because I drive past there all the time. Oddly enough there are two In and Out locations in the Natomas neighborhood and they aren’t exactly right next door to each other. One is off of I-5, one is off of I-80. So I learned from this experience to ask for a specific address and landmarks.

As I was driving home from Lunch, I thought about this in a broader perspective. Do I know where I am going in life? Do I have a clear roadmap in my head about where I want to go in order to achieve my goals? While on the surface the answer to that is quite simple, it’s never the less something that I need to focus on more. Especially when it comes to staying focused on Christ. There are so many distractions and even good and worthy things that if I’m not careful can lead me off course. Staying the course, and knowing where we want to go and following the clear path to that leads to Christ and ultimately to when we rest in his arms are two important elements that I need to look at sometimes more frequently than I do.

In thinking about knowing where we are going, and knowing how to get there, the hymn Lead Kindly Light comes to mind. The text was written by John Henry Newman. He had been in Italy, but felt a strong urge that he needed to return to England. For lack of a ship he was stuck in Italy for several weeks. Finally he was able to catch one bound for France. But en-route the ship was becalmed for a week. It was during this time that he wrote the text of the hymn Lead Kindly Light.

“Lead, Kindly Light, amidst 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.

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!

So long Thy power hath blest me,
sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent,
till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Ultimately if we follow Christ, he will indeed lead us with his kindly light. So it is his light that I need to strive to follow more closely in my personal life. With his light guiding the way, and our following, we will not be lost.

2 people like this post.

One Response to “Knowing Where We Are Going”

  1. Jonathan Langford said:

    It”s interesting to me that you start by talking about knowing the address and the landmarks, but end with a reference to “Lead, Kindly Light” (also one of my favorite hymns) which — on the surface at least — seems to give up on the idea of knowing our destination: “Keep thou my feet” etc.

    The answer, I think, is that knowing where we”re going may not be the same thing as knowing the destination or the path. Sometimes — as with Newman — it means knowing who we want to follow or how we want to proceed.

Leave a Reply

If your comment is a support question, please post it at the forums.