Author - Anon
There are many hymns I love, so it’s always hard to choose a favourite one, but for some reason, as soon as my friend threw down this challenge, I knew exactly which hymn I wanted to illustrate. Fanny Crosby’s beautiful ‘All the way my Saviour leads me’ is a treasure for me.
As a child, I sang it in church and in sing-songs around my Nana’s piano. As a teenager, I got my hands on a Rich Mullins CD and his version of the hymn made me fall in love with it all over again. As I grew up and grappled more with the Christian walk, it was my go-to on many occasions. So, as I embarked on overseas missionary work at the age of 23, the words were naturally a great encouragement. My Saviour was leading, my Saviour was my personal guide.
But I think the words of the song have become even more precious to me since that initial decision to go. For missionaries, God’s leading is foundational in a ‘call’ to go, but it’s also absolutely essential in enabling us to stay for the long haul.
Compared with some of the legendary missionaries of the past, my 14 years serving the Lord in East Asia don’t amount to much, but it sometimes feels like those 14 years have dealt me a lifetime of changes and challenges! It hasn’t all come easily to me and I’ve realised that you don’t just arrive into another country and go into ‘missionary auto-pilot’. Honestly, there have been many times (and still are) when I really didn’t (and don’t) know which way to go, as I’ve tried to navigate the Christian life in another culture.
But, I am thankful that the Lord has led me through the hilarity and humiliation of language learning. I am thankful that the Lord has led me in the joys of friends coming to faith and through the sorrows of friends turning away from the faith. I am thankful that the Lord has led me to days of great community and also led me through days of tremendous loneliness. There have been victories and encouragements along the way, but there have also been times of great loss and hurt. The missionary journey sure has felt like the ‘winding path’ mentioned in the hymn and I have needed the Lord’s leading every day and ALL the way!
I am thankful that the Lord has led me in the joys of friends coming to faith…
So here is my simple painting based on the hymn. As I played around with different colours and textures, I meditated on Him and His leading all the way. As I continue this journey, unsure what’s around the next bend, the words of this hymn and the truths behind it still bring calm and comfort to me. Whether I, or the people I am trying to minister to, are going through happiness or hard times, the Saviour’s presence and guidance is a constant. And that makes all the difference.