Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:105-112, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Philippians 3:7-11
“God doesn’t give guidance, he does guidance, and you’re in the middle of it.”
Pastor and writer Tim Keller’s words shocked me. I rewound the sermon podcast and listened again. I was in a job I hated—smack dab in the middle of a two-year commitment that felt like it would never end. The world told me that since I was unhappy, I should walk away. And I liked the sound of that. Daily, I pulled into the parking lot and cried, staring at the red-brick building. Inside, 200 seventh graders and several fellow teachers were ready to wear me down, yet again. I wanted to quit. In fact, I was seeking out biblical support to walk away. Instead, Keller’s words cut through the noise.
I had been praying for God to give me guidance—I wanted Him to show me the way out of my work situation. But Keller’s words reminded me that God had already done the guiding, and unfortunately, He’d led me to this red-brick building. I wanted to leave, but I knew He was calling me to stay. It took every ounce of faith and courage I could muster to step out of my car each day, and into the job He’d called me to. The world tells me to follow my heart, but God tells me to follow Him. It matters greatly which path I choose.
The words of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision” encourage me in my endeavor to live above the common level of life. Because believe me, when I’ve chosen to follow God instead of myself, He has led me on very uncommon paths. He has led me into places of resistance and uncertainty and darkness. But if I truly want to bring light to the world, I can’t be afraid of the dark. Left to my own direction, my heart is a compass that guides me toward passions and pleasures. But God is the true compass, guiding me along His ultimate path for me, changing my heart and renewing my mind in the process.
As it says in 1 Corinthians, following God must look like complete foolishness to people who do not know Him (v.18). But my heart is a broken instrument, so how can I possibly trust its direction? Only God is trustworthy to lead me.
Consider the stanzas from “Be Thou My Vision.” See how each word is antithetical to the world’s call to seek our own way—fame and fortune, pleasure and comfort. The lyrics of this hymn are a reminder of who our God is and what He provides. He is with me. He protects me. He provides power. He brings wisdom. He endows me with treasure in heaven. He is my destination, both now and for eternity. And He is my greatest hope. Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, [Lord] still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
Be Thou My Vision
Text: Irish hymn, sixth century
Prose Translation: Mary Byrne, 1905
Verse Form: Eleanor H. Hull, 1912
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that Thou art:
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle shield, sword for the fight;
be Thou my dignity, Though my delight;
Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high tower,
raise Thou me heav’nward, O Power of my pow’r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou, and Thou only, first in my heart,
great God of heaven, my treasure Thou art.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.