There are times when the ‘nicities’ of faith seem redundant.
Times when your ‘morning readings’ are not ‘streams in the desert’; when following your prayer plan is not a peaceful ascent ‘to the heavenly places’, because actually where you are is a high, dry desert, cold at night, blistering in the daytime, crawling onwards in the knowledge that death has moved up very close.
You learned to read your faith compass in a quiet, warm classroom, where ‘true north’ was just over there, through a window that looked out on the familiar green fields that were the surroundings of a comfortable home.
Now, though the compass points a way, you have no confidence it is the right way. Faith is tested now because knowledge is useless in the battle against lurking, feinting death.
If death is to be overcome, it is not by the sacred books and mantras of any religion; it is only by taking a compass bearing from someone who has already made that perilous journey.
And then taking the path yourself.