Taking a daily walk has become my routine. When I’m not able because either life or weather or N’s to-do-list is interfering, withdrawal sets in and manifests in grumbled words. The other morning when I was praying, asking God to open me to my unconfessed sin, I realized I was not yet fully living in Christ. I cannot say that’s a sin but if sin is separation from God, the revelation let me know sin remained in me.
Thinking about my walk with Christ, I saw images appear of Jesus’ last walk down the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha, each step steeped in pain, wailing and jeering from the crowd and Jesus’ deafening, silent obedience to God’s will. And it occurred to me God’s will is done despite ours.
Walking is the way of a Christian, that is if the detour doesn’t lure him. Some Christians detour at John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” But believing in Christ when grace comes is just a first step, isn’t it? To be called a believer sounds nice. To be Christian is so much more.
Once we realize God doesn’t let us off the hook when this love your neighbor stuff begins to irritate us with inconvenience and we’re urged to love our neighbor, to walk in his shoes, becoming fully Christian isn’t so attractive. Hey God, I’ve got things to do first. Detours sneak up on us, don’t they? It did me.
But if we get past the first turn of the Potter’s wheel, He throws redemption at us. Through the years, I remember a minister describing redemption as a turning away, and then, a turning toward. But turning can simply mean looking. God wants us to walk and doing so daily means uphill, downhill, briskly, casually, downwind and leaning into some strong headwinds. It’s enough to make a person believe his steps are self-guided. If you didn’t notice, that’s a detour — one I’ve taken.
Lighted paths are easy to follow. But a dark path can stretch long into an unending night where God is hard to find. When such darkness turns to silence, when we can’t hear God, when only He can hear us, He knows right where we are. God does good work when no one is looking, when self no longer suffices, when turning toward means looking up. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
During my prayer, facing my unconfessed sin, I realized no more did I feel those tempting tinges, those detours compelled by want. My pride was dying because in hindsight I realized God was doing the work and not me. By walking toward, I discovered I had walked through. God directed those steps, not me. Christ was taking over where pride once resided.
God’s will is done despite our own.
To be Christian is so much harder than to believe. I’m not there, yet.
I think I’ll keep walking.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15).