I enjoy it when I get to walk in wild country places and, although I genuinely enjoy contact with other people, I must admit that on such walks I quite like just being with my wife Gemma and our dog Sid. I sometimes find that when you encounter others on a walk and greet them, they seem very reluctant to respond. Perhaps it’s because they were just hoping for a solitary walk as well. I’ve been aware for a long time that greeting someone when out on a walk and receiving a grudging or unfriendly response touches into still unhealed issues of rejection in my life, although I always try to override that and greet other walkers cheerfully when I meet them.
Gemma and I have just returned from a week’s holiday in a beautiful part of the county where we live in England. On the last day of our holiday, we went for a walk on the coastal path near where we were staying. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky and the path stretched ahead of us without another walker in sight. Eventually though, two dots appeared in the distance, which gradually became identifiable as two walkers coming towards us on the path. As they drew nearer, I decided to leave the path we were on and, followed by Gemma, we descended to some lower ground.
We immediately encountered soft squelchy mud. While Gemma wisely decided to go no further, I went on with Sid, until I realised just how bad a decision I had made in leaving the firm path for the miry clay we were now walking through. We retraced our steps and rejoined our original course. I realised that I was learning a lesson that afternoon as we enjoyed the rest of our walk on firm ground encountering and greeting the stream of other walkers who suddenly seemed to have appeared, enticed outdoors by the afternoon sunshine.
When we got back to the cottage where we were staying, I had time to reflect on what had happened on our walk, as I cleaned the thick clingy mud off my boots and, even worse, for poor Sid, off his paws and legs. I couldn’t avoid the truth of our verse from Proverbs today. If, as I did that afternoon, I take avoiding action from a situation because of fear, I’m more than likely to end up in some kind of trap or dead end. The good news of the rest of the verse is that if I put my trust in the Lord in situations where I am tempted to protect or cover myself, I will experience being kept secure and safe in Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for the times when I avoid situations in my life because of fear. I bring those fears to You today. Please heal their root causes and flood my heart with Your love so that I live life secure in You. In Your name I pray. Amen.
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