Walking with Jesus
Brian and his girlfriend of a couple months, Krista, were hiking up a narrow mountainside trail. The weather was beautiful; 74° with a light breeze and only a handful of clouds scattered across the sky. Brian noticed they had no phone reception, which was not surprising since they were already a few miles into the hike. They had started early that morning with the goal of going five miles in, taking a lunch break, and then going back. Suddenly, the wind changed direction and began to blow hard. Looking up, they noticed the sky was quickly changing to grey. They decided to turn around right then.
After about a mile, the rain began to fall. Brian and Krista picked up their pace, but Krista’s boot slipped on a wet rock, causing her to stumble and fall. She thought she was alright until she put weight on her clearly broken ankle. Excruciating pain shot through her leg and she cried out. Brian had no choice. With no way to call for help and nobody else around, he scooped Krista off her feet and continued on. He made sure to be extra careful where he stepped. They made it down safely and he got her to a doctor’s care. Krista discovered she had a newfound fondness of Brian because he had risked himself and his own safety to help her without even being asked.
Sometimes, our relationship with Jesus is a bit like that story. There you are, calmly walking alongside Jesus when the devil dangles a juicy temptation in front of you. He knows the ones that are near impossible for you to resist. You veer off course to grab a hold of it and start blazing your own trail. It’s never the straight, narrow, and perfect path that Jesus intended you to walk on with Him. It’s filled with obstacles that you climb over, under, and around. As you do, your thoughts focus evermore on the wrong path in front of you. The path you left – Jesus’ perfect path – is all but lost from your mind.
More and more temptations arise before you and even if you don’t fall for all of them, you continue down the wrong path. You begin to feel the anxiety and fear press in from all sides. You try to fill the Jesus-shaped hole in your heart with sinful vices such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, or other earthly idols. Satan whispers words of discouragement in your ear, telling you that you’ll never find your way back. He tells you that even if you found your way back, Jesus wouldn’t take you back – you’ve gone too far astray. The weight of your sin begins to overwhelm you, pushing you down until you don’t even want to move anymore. Is it hopeless?
No! FEAR NOT! It doesn’t matter how far you have walked away from Jesus – the journey back to Him is only one step! How is that possible? Because Jesus was right behind you the whole time, with His hand stretched out to you, trying to get your attention away from the devil’s schemes and back on Himself. God will never abandon you! He loves you too much. He will scoop you off your feet and run with you back to safety if you just let Him carry you.
This well-known poem is applicable and beautiful (original author unknown).
“One night I had a dream…
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life. This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. ‘Lord, you said that once I decided to follow You, You would walk with me all the way; but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why in times when I needed You the most, You should leave me.’
The Lord replied, ‘My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’”
“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30).