When I was a student, I lived on campus for my first year. One of my fellow students was a friendly young man called Trevor who was completely blind, but managed to live and study independently, with the help of audio materials and friends who read to him. He had a white stick, which helped him get around more safely.
One day I heard a strange tapping noise and looked out of the window. Nobody was around except Trevor, who was standing under an archway in the courtyard, tapping his stick on the concrete path. I wondered what he was doing, and then I saw him running quite fast along the path until he reached the corner, where he stopped and started tapping the ground again. This was out of my line of sight, so I couldn't see what happened next.
Curious, when I met him later, I asked what he had been doing. He said tapping the ground enabled him to hear if there was anyone else there. He had just wanted to run, to get some exercise. Until then, it hadn't occurred to me that of course, it is quite difficult to get energetic exercise when you can't see. I was impressed that he could tell the way was clear for his run, just by tapping the ground.
Today's verse reminds me of Trevor. Just as he couldn’t see the things around him, we can't see the spiritual world around us. God is invisible to us, and so are the angels, but they are still there, even though we can't see them. Likewise the unclean spirits (demons) and other spiritual powers are there too (Ephesians 6:12). None of us can see the spiritual world around us, nor can we see the enemy's schemes against us, nor the rewards that God has in store for us in heaven. That is why we need faith, because we can’t rely purely on what we see, or on our own understanding.
We often try to run ahead of God, but like a blind man, we soon hit something and injure ourselves spiritually and in practical ways too. But today's verse reminds us that if we run in the path of God's commands, we will have a clear run and we won't get spiritually hurt in the process. We can experience a free heart. That freedom is like the great feeling Trevor experienced when he could just run freely, knowing he wouldn't hit anything.
Psalm 119:105 says: ‘Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path’. Even though we will be blind to the spiritual world all our lives, if we stick to the path of God's commands, we can throw ourselves into life with confidence and enjoy freedom.
The Holy Spirit will be given to us if we ask (Luke 11:13) and he is a bit like Trevor’s white stick, giving us information about the path ahead of us. We have to train ourselves to hear the Holy Spirit's gentle voice, just as Trevor had to train himself to hear and interpret the echoes he heard. And he had to learn, a bit at a time, to trust that information.
What about you and me? Can we learn to hear the Holy Spirit's voice? If not, we can ask him to teach us how to hear him. Can we learn to trust God enough to run ahead only in the path of his commands? If so, we will find that our hearts are free.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am sorry for the times recently when I have tried to run ahead of you and when I have run outside of your commands. Please help me to stick to the clear path of your Word, so I won’t be injured by things I can’t see in the spiritual world. Please would you help me to hear the gentle voice of your Holy Spirit guiding me in safe and good paths for my life. Thank you. I ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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