In my attempts to lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle, I’ve been walking. I’m not a runner, but a steady-as-she goes walker. I cross the street from my condo and walk among the larger homes and tree-lined streets of others, grateful that they’ve provided me with a such a nice, quiet area to get my exercise.
In my morning devotion with Oswald Chambers, he talked about this form of activity:
There is no thrill in walking; it is the test of all the stable qualities.*
I laughed as I read that, because I had highlighted it in an earlier reading, knowing that it was true. Walking is not like running a race; it’s methodical, steady, dull. Seems to fit me well! Yet, I gained encouragement in the second part of his statement — “it is the test of all stable qualities.” I can only hope!
Can I press on in this life without thrill? When I lost the “thrill” of my life in 2015, I felt like I was left with only the dull — me. How would I go on without the excitement that Raouf added to my otherwise normal existence? I learned to keep walking.
For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.*
Yet, even in remaining steady, pressing on by putting one foot in front of the other, where we walk can affect our life, our witness.
Isaiah talks about walking in bitterness of soul: “I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul.”* This reminds me of Naomi, in the book of Ruth, who after her husband and sons all died, wanted her name changed to Mara, which means bitter. Her grief was reflected in every aspect of her life.
A person who walks in bitterness and anguish looks down as they walk; they look inward, never able to see beyond their hurts and pain. Looking down when walking slows you down, makes you drag your feet. It also keeps you from noticing any upcoming obstacles, which just leads to more trouble and despair.
Instead of walking in the midst of bitterness, there is another choice:
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.*
God delivers us from not just physical death, as he did the psalmist, but spiritual and emotional death, and when he does, even that steady, dull walk can gain a new purpose. I’m not just walking, I’m living and walking among the living. He dries my tears and keeps my feet from stumbling, because I’m no longer looking down, looking inward; I’m looking up, keeping my eyes on him.
Where are you walking today? Are you looking down and dragging, because bitterness has had its way, or are you looking up and finding some extra pep in your step? Don’t despair when the runners pass you, press on in purpose knowing the Lord’s by your side.
Grace and Peace
*Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. July 20.
*Psalm 56:13 (NIV).
*Isaiah 38:15 (NIV).
*Psalm 116:8-9 (NIV).