I love walking. I love conversation. Walking is perfectly designed for conversation. A communion of sorts. Walks become a release for sorting out things, a putting in order for what would otherwise remain scattered thoughts sown into the reality of life’s circumstances. Thoughts, which in content, are sometimes trivial, sometimes deep, at times weighty, while at other times humorous.
There can be a settling of the mind, will, and spirit in a walk’s step by step momentum. A rhythmic pattern develops, even unconsciously, in full harmony with one’s own bearing to the ground, or with another’s stride. Not too fast, not to slow, just strolling along.
Going on walks has always been part of my husband and I’s relationship, long before marriage and kids preoccupied us! Now, in parenting, we cherish walks with our children, often all together, but especially one on one. That still, small voice of an Amen echoes its Mosaical refrain “You shall teach them diligently to your children…when you walk by the way…” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
Although, I sometimes long for a silent walk, just holding my child’s hand, glancing at them with a winking-smile, while listening to the natural world adjoining us, the contrary happens. Those stroller days are over. Walks with them alone unwind their boundless, unique energy with a keen imagination wrestling to stay on par with their sense of reality. Questions swirl, like the kaleidoscope of autumn leaves caught in the tube of a wind tunnel. Their asking has such a grave sense of urgency, forcing you to ponder on how in the world oxygen is reaching their lungs. But then, the pause happens, presumably once oxygen is totally depleted, and only then does your answer gain traction to their curiosity.
Oh, the depths of a child-like musing, their innocence cannot yet fathom. So deep, so rich, so humbling, so beautiful is their exuberance in the craving to know. I pray, these walks are the communions between parent and child where nostalgia will grow.
The Lord came to walk (Genesis 3:8-11),
called them by name,
but hidden they remained.
Out they came by two, stark naked,
ridden with guilt and shame,
not too eager to commune.
And he (Adam) said,
“I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
And He (the Lord) said,
“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you not to eat?”
See, the Lord’s spoken Word, was a lamp illuminating, in the blink of an eye, the path they had chosen was clearly seen. The Truth had called them out. Adam and Eve knew what they wanted no longer to know. Their desire for the fruit from the “tree of knowledge of the good and evil” had plucked their joy of innocence and swallowed their communion up in one gulp.
Yet, trusting Him (the Lord) still,
forward they came.
They could not resume their walking,
until clothing for them He (the Lord) made.
Can you imagine:
- to hear from the creating Word, the Truth, proclaim the curse?
- enlightenment of the eyes to first see death before the Life?
- to put on the covering made by the Way?
The first walk with the curse would be the great divorce in order “to keep the way of the tree of life.”
But God, the promised and anointed One, would still appear and desire to walk beyond the flaming sword of Eden’s Cherubim guarded gate. While some would walk away; others would walk with (Genesis 4:16; 5:24).
As humanity was created to commune with God; humanity was created to walk with God.
In full humanity, and as fully God, Jesus Christ walked all over the promise land. He walked to the garden of Gethsemane. He walked to Calvary and was lifted up on the cross at Golgotha. Jesus rested in the tomb on the 7th day, and rose to walk right out of the Grave!
After conquering death, Jesus Christ’s first action was to walk in the garden to Mary Magdalene, and call her by name. Then, He communed and walked on the road to Emmaus.
As God the Father willed, so Jesus Christ exemplified Deuteronomy 6:6-7,
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
He taught while walking in the way…
(excerpts below of Luke 24:13-53)
“…While they were talking & discussing together, Jesus himself drew near, & went with them… He (Jesus) said unto them,
“What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”
And they stood still, looking sad… Cleopas, answered Him,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened? … How our chief priest and our rulers delivered Him (Jesus) up to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we had hoped that He was the One to redeem Israel…”
Then He (Jesus) said unto them,
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?”
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He (Jesus) interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself….”
He taught while sitting in the house…
When He was at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him (Jesus)… They said to each another,
“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?”
And they rose that same hour, and returned to Jerusalem… saying,
“The Lord is risen indeed…”
Life is a step by step existence. For the believer it remains true,
“The steps of a man are established
by the Lord, when he delights in His way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.”
No wonder then, we can say,
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)
What god is like our God who each person can petition from the Holy One, a Garden of Eden-like action from old, with courageous confidence to claim Psalm 27:9 & 11 as their own,
“Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.”
There is no more genuine, heartfelt motive of relationship than that God delights to walk and be Immanuel (God with us) to us.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
Trust is the channel by which the Lord strengthens one’s heart for, “There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…. for to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8)
The aim of hope is to possess the boldness of David’s Psalm 27,
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that I will seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in His temple.
Paul echoed David’s yearning against the naked reality of original sin’s post Eden world in 1 Corinthians 5:1-7,
1. “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.
3. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee…for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Don’t be led astray, “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanest us from all sin…If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:6-7).
Don’t try and hide being naked with wilting leaves that your hands have made. God delights to clothe you and redeem the walks with Him (Ecclesiastes 3:10-15). Trust in the God who knows your deepest need and longings. Be satisfied, that in Him is all the fullness to life. For He will direct your paths!
written by Michelle Kelso Kafer