Walking in faith means that many times we are completely baffled about what our next step should be. Trying to find God’s lead seems like trying to catch mist. Though we long to know the way forward God is content to let us struggle. He does this so we will mature in spirit and faith. As we make conscious, deliberate effort to find His lead and obey it, we grow; both in intimacy and maturity. We call this process following “the silver thread.”
I am immensely thankful to Jesus for making me a visual person who understands spiritual concepts through images. Many people are like this, which is why He delights in giving us parables to understand the perfect truth of God. By using such imagery, even a simple child can understand the most complex truth easily.
Perhaps one of the greatest masters of this was a man by the name of George MacDonald. A simple Scottish writer who inspired both C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien in their visual books. His book, The Princess and The Goblin, is an outstanding example of his ability to take the difficult understanding of how to find and follow God’s lead and simplify it so a child could understand.
The Princess and the Goblin
In George’s story a young princess, Irene, lives in a castle quite alone. One day a mysterious person introduces herself as Irene’s great-great-grandmother and takes care of the little girl. One day Irene is outside after dark when she is chased by goblins. A young miner, Curdie, rescues her and the two become friends.
Not long after, Curdie is captured by the goblins and held captive deep in the nearby mountain. The goblins then devise a plan to kidnap Irene. One night the goblins break into the castle to capture Irene, but the great-great-grandmother hides her and the goblins must retreat empty-handed.
The great-great-grandmother then gives Irene a spool of gossamer, almost invisible silver thread. She tells Irene that whenever she needs help, she must follow the silver thread and it will always lead Irene back to her. When Princess Irene learns of Curdie’s captivity she is determined to rescue him.
The silver thread
Following the silver thread Princess Irene is not taken to the tower where her great-great-grandmother dwells but, instead, is led to a cave in the mountain. Trusting her great-great-grandmother’s word she implicitly follows the gossamer filament.
Irene is led deeper into the mountain right to where Curdie is being held by the goblins. Once she frees him Curdie is fearful because of the labyrinth of passages where it would be easy to get lost. Irene has no fear for she trusts her great-great-grandmother and is steadfast in following the silver thread. Eventually the pair escape the mountain and are safe.
The path of faith
What caught me in this book was how the silver thread did not immediately lead back to the great-great-grandmother, which is a representation of God. Instead, the path led Irene directly into harm’s way, but as long as she held onto the diaphanous thread, she was safe. This is so true in the walk of uncompromising faith.
When we start our journey with Jesus, He is by our side always. We build trust in His care and depend on Him, but we are very childlike in this way. Our Father wants a Bride for His Son, so inevitably, as we follow Jesus, we must mature. The only way we can do this is if we step out in faith and follow Him as He leads us on dark paths. The dark heart of the mountain He leads us into is that of the wilderness.
Though the wilderness is filled with great danger and trial, we will be preserved if we follow God’s lead. He has given us a silver thread that binds our heart to His own. Though the way is unclear and we cannot see the way forward, it is this invisible connection we have with the Father that guides our steps. This is the faith that got us through our wilderness journey.
Walking in faith is not easy, but God gives us all we need to succeed. If we trust His lead and follow Him, He not only will guide our steps but in the process will bring us into greater faith, intimacy and maturity. This is His promise to us and one we can rest assured He will fulfill if we follow the silver thread.
Homer and Wanda