A Lamp Unto My Feet

Last week, my family and I got to hike to the top of Mount Batur, on the island of Bali in Indonesia. We began our hike at about 3:30 AM because we wanted to reach the top in time to see the sunrise. As we began the hike, our guides gave each of us a headlamp. Looking up the mountain, you could see points of light where other headlamp-wearing hikers were hiking ahead of us. But most of the time, I kept my headlamp pointed toward the ground in front of me, so I could see my next step.

As we hiked, I thought about this scripture:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105

So often, personal revelation works that way for me. The Lord lights the path just enough for me to know my next step. Only as I move forward does the next part of the path become visible. Nephi described this process concisely: “I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do” (1 Nephi 4:6).

As we hiked, I recognized one advantage of this process: it helped me stay focused. Without the distractions of seeing what was ahead or to the sides, I was able to concentrate on the ground in front of me and choose each step wisely. Of course we had an end goal, and we were grateful for guides who knew the way. But the only way to achieve that goal was through a series of well-placed steps, so our attention needed to be directed to the next step most of the time.

In the hymn “Lead Kindly Light,” we sing, “Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene—one step enough for me” (Hymns, 97). It takes faith to move forward without knowing what will happen next. When someone asks us to do something, we usually want to understand the context and the likely outcomes before moving forward. But when we are interacting with God, we demonstrate our trust by allowing Him to lead us one step at a time, by not demanding all the answers before moving forward.

When I was a student at Brigham Young University, I had the privilege of singing in a session of general conference with the BYU Men’s Chorus. One of the numbers we sang was a new arrangement of “Lead, Kindly Light” by our director, Mack Wilberg. While I’ve heard this arrangement done many times since, I’ve always loved this version for men’s voices, especially the harmony on the third verse:

Today, I will let the Lord lead me one step at a time. I will be grateful for incremental revelation, and I will act on the guidance I receive today, trusting that God will continue to provide direction as I move forward along the path.

6 thoughts on “A Lamp Unto My Feet

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  1. Good one. I keep feeling like the key to controlling anxiety is to focus on the immediate task at-hand (i.e., take no heed for the morrow). In many ways, it’s a blessing to only be able to see the next step ahead of us…as it compels us to be laser-focused on just that step.

    If we are willing to submit to the Father and live in faith, this focus on the next step should help us avoid feeling the anxiety we feel when, looking up at the distant peak we seek to summit, we become overwhelmed with the enormity of the journey ahead of us. I pray that we each can muster the faith sufficient to continue onward in our journey.

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  2. So are you actually in this video? I looked for you but I’m not sure I would recognize you from that long ago!

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    1. I think this is the performance that I sang in, but I don’t see myself in the video either. I think the camera shots just missed me. You would recognize me. I haven’t changed that much 🙂

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