How many times have you heard that line and then seen someone walking crazily behind the guy in front of him who too is walking crazily? It’s an old gag line that’s been used in numerous movies and other venues.
Jesus once said to His disciples, probably more than once, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Or, referring back to our previous line, “If you love me, walk this way.” More precisely, “If you love me, walk the way I walk. Do as I do.” And how exactly did He do what He did? He did it with compassion and with the intent of pleasing His Father.
So that makes our lives very simple and easy to order: We just do what Jesus did and everything will work out. Perhaps you haven’t noticed so I’ll point it out: Many Christians aren’t walking the way Jesus walked or doing what He did and consequently, many that started out with great enthusiasm have slowed down or just plain stopped and some have even walked back to their old lives.
I understand how life’s storms can grow wearisome and grind a person down. I’ve been through plenty of them myself–turning 64 in just a few months so there’s been tons of opportunities for life’s traps to capture me. But I haven’t been caught. An outlaw has freedom as long as he/she doesn’t get caught. But once caught, freedom is lost and hope is crushed. So in a sense I’m an outlaw who hasn’t been caught. Why? Because Jesus forgives my sins, renews my strength, empowers my weakness with His strength and helps me find my way through the confusion. Unlike an outlaw, I don’t purposely break the law, but like you and every other breathing human, I fall short of the glory of God. If I keep on walking toward home, I’m OK. If I give up and stop in my tracks, I’m caught. So the key is, “Walk this way.” Walk toward our Father in heaven with our eyes lifted up and focused on Jesus and our mouths continually offering sarcrifices of praise to the all-holy Trinity.
If you aren’t walking, you are stopped and if you are stopped you are no longer going forward and will eventually find ways to compromise everything you know to be right for the convenience of being stopped (trapped). If I would have stopped after the first church disappointed me, I wouldn’t have lasted 6 months. You can count upon Christians disappointing you; churches disappointing you; life itself disappointing you. It’s just part of the way things go I guess. Your options are always the same when disapointment comes: Walk on or stop. If you walk on, you will have to spot Jesus in the crowd and get behind Him and walk this way, His way. You have to forgive. You will have to pray for your enemies and bless them. You will have to realize that it’s probably your fault. At least I’m finding more and more it’s not you that is my problem but rather me is my problem.
When I learn to embrace pain, disappointment, hurt, sadness, loneliness and loss, I will begin to make my way toward home. Jesus walked through all of those things yet never turned back and never stopped. He understood that to do His Father’s will, He didn’t have to ask a 1000 why questions He only needed to walk on with love and compassion for the people and circumstances God put in His path.
On everyone’s path there are times of great joy and celebration and there are times of great pain and sadness. You can’t live on earth and walk on a path that is only filled with rainbows, unicorns and four-leaf clovers. Every circumstance, every difficult time, every day of loneliness is brought to you as a gift from God. As you embrace the hard things, your heart softens.
I don’t go out and look for pain. If I have a headache, I eat an aspirin or two. But I don’t whine and ask why. I try to embrace it all and fail often—but God has given me the grace and mercy I need to not stop. He’s given them to you too. I know that because I am by my own admission not that brilliant or strong yet I continue to walk. If I can, you can too and you probably can do it better.
As I’m typing there’s a gale going on outside my window: 20 – 40 mph winds and so far 8 inches of rain. The trees are bending over and branches are snapping off and falling in my yard. The water in the ditch across my street, which is normally 4-6 inches deep, is 4 feet deep and overflowing into the street. I could go outside and start screaming at God, “Why all this wind, rain and destruction?” But then I’d be out there in the middle of it and a branch might snap off and fall on my head. And there’s a great glimpse at what life is like. Inside my house at my desk, I’m warm, cozy, comfortable and safe, but outside it’s nuts. When the storms come, don’t waste your breath and strength asking why questions, but thank God for the way the storm will bring about the pruning of trees, watering of grass and raising the water level (we are in a drought situation now in St. Augustine). What’s that verse say in Romans? “God makes all things work out for good… .” Be like my ridiculously nutso cat and relax–we win in the end.
Don’t give up. If you quit now, nothing changes except you quit. If you keep walking, one day you’ll open your eyes and heaven will fill your senses because you’ll be home. Got questions? Need prayer? Let us know. We love to talk and we love to pray for our friends (and enemies).