March 9, 2012

Keep Walking

Yesterday a friend and I were counseling another friend. As I was listening, the Lord laid something on my heart - the Holy Spirit illuminated this like it was the first time I'd ever read it. This struggling friend is desperately seeking to be obedient to the Lord - to take the steps He places in front of her. At the same time, she very much longs to feel the desire to do this, not just to do it because she knows she should. This is hard - especially when we are creatures that can be so consumed and driven by our emotions. But my other friend giving advice said, "Sometimes we just have to take the step of obedience. The feelings and desire might not be there at first." And this is when it hit me:

In Psalm 23, David cries out, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." Did you catch it? David didn't say, "Even though I refuse to get out of bed and curl up in a fetal position in the valley of the shadow of death..." He said, "I walk". He keeps walking. And when you know David's story - when you examine David's life and struggles - you know that the "valley of the shadow of death" was most likely not a physical, tangible place. It was a darkness of emotional, psychological, and spiritual struggle. This man KNEW darkness! He knew what it meant to sin, be broken, to weep and mourn, to be shattered by his deceitful heart, to repent, and to cry out for God's mercy. But he also knew what it meant to keep walking. And apparently, when we keep faithfully trusting and walking - even through the darkness and confusion and numbness - the Lord faithfully walks with us and leads us to His table. In His house! He leads us there. But we have to keep walking.

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to one of my favorite songs, "Everything", by Lifehouse. Jason Wade sings, "You are the strength that keeps me walking. You are the hope that keeps me trusting. You are the light to my soul. You are my purpose. You're everything. And how can I stand here with You and not be moved by You? Would You tell me how could it be any better than this?" 

Whatever you're going through, keep walking.
However painful the darkness seems, keep trusting.
"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!"


Jeff and Vicki said...

God is making for certain I get this "walking" issue into my thick head today. Part of the e-devotion just this morning was titled: Walking it Out by Alpha and Omega. This is a small excerpt.

"The Bible has many verses that illustrate the spiritual importance of how we are to walk with God. We are to walk in truth (Psalm 86:11), in newness of life (Romans 6:4), by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), in the light (Psalm 89:15), according to His commandments (2 John 1:6), and as children of light (Ephesians 5:8). As we walk with God, He provides the strength and guidance we need to face the enormous task of homeschooling our children."

Yes, we need to walk and not be paralyzed by our shifting emotions. May we experience the fullness of God in all circumstances by trusting Him in every area of our lives. Clinging to His truth today!

Sharp said...

I think a lot of the problem is an unrealistic idea of what it's like to walk. We often hear people who act like they are just on fire 24/7, basking in the glory, never doubting for a minute, constantly talking about how God's "showing me this" and "telling me that." Most people (in my experience) have no clue what that's like and they feel both guilty and ripped off when it's not that way for them.

It's almost like how people have been trained to expect that if you're not serving your spouse with a constant sense of wonder and awe that you must not really love them any more, that the emotions must always be present or your actions are shallow and meaningless. I don't know about you but I don't get a rush of romance every time I take out the trash or make the bed. I'm not equating obedience with chores but I am saying it's something that must be done if, in the larger context, I want to show my love and meet my responsibilities as a husband. The emotions attendant to those gestures of faithfulness will manifest themselves from time to time and that's great and even necessary. But it's way unrealistic to expect them to be constantly present.

As with all my observations, I'm speaking to myself as much as anyone! Don't always gotta feel it. Just keep doing it.

Christina said...

I am really glad I was taken to this blog. This reminds me of a friend of mine. I am in my Senior year in college. I had a very vivid dream of a guy struggling. This wasn't odd to me except for the fact that this guy in my dream was someone I haven't seen since elementary school. I woke up feeling heavy and sad for this guy. Long story short, I found him on Facebook, messaged him about this dream I had. I apologized for if it seemed weird. He replied quickly saying it was only weird because he had been praying to God about his sufferings. He has been suffering from depression for 4 years and said that God is the only reason he hasn't committed suicide. We talked for several hours and the amount of grace I felt throughout that conversation was unbelievable. God works in amazing ways.

Brian Mayfield said...

Great thoughts!

Johnny - Totally agree. I think many times it's more about us understanding that our "desires" need to line up with His desires, not the reverse. This almost always happen ONLY through obedience.

Christina - I'm just grateful that you listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit and reached out. What a blessing. Hope you are encouraged by the response from this old friend.