This week I walked to Penshaw Monument. From the top I could see Durham Cathedral, which normally dominates the skyline, as only a small square in the distance. This made me consider my perspectives on my Christian journey and how far I’ve travelled since I first started walking with God.
At the beginning of my journey the presence of God dominated everything I did and was a constant certainty of my life, and I thought this compared to the way everywhere in Durham is overlooked by the cathedral, but I noticed that very soon after I left the city and entered the dales I lost sight of it and honestly couldn’t see very far and felt somewhat lost, with only my OS map to guide me.
Honestly, the spiritual walk often feels like this to me, as I lose sight of God and find that I only have memories of God, and that my journey continues with nothing to guide me but the map (is it acceptable to compare this to the Bible?).
I had been led to believe that on reaching Penshaw Hill there would be a really good view of Durham and the cathedral, but when I got up there I found that I could only really see the cathedral as a small square on the horizon, but there was so much more to it than that.
I think this compares to the spiritual life. After we have been blessed with a fantastic experience of God’s power, we can often feel like we’ve lost sight of him and are walking in the dark. As we climb spiritual peaks looking for the same view of God that we had before, we find that it’s disappointing, and never quite what we are looking for. God is more than a cathedral. From the monument I could see far across the landscape to all kinds of interesting places and opportunities, that I’d never have seen if I remained in Durham. I found this to be a good reminder that as we walk with God it won’t always be easy, we may sometimes feel abandoned and we may not find exactly what we’re seeking, but God is always there alongside us and ultimately even if we don’t find what we expect, that is only because God exceeds all of our expectations.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8.38-39)