Walking Toward the Light

I spent three hours working through a research problem, and I needed to stretch my legs and clear my mind.

“Precious, “I’m going for a short walk. Would you like to go with me?”

“It’s 9 o’clock, it’s dark, it’s cold, and no. I don’t want to go for a walk.”

“The walk will be good for you.”

“It’ll be better for me to stay warm here in the RV.”

“Okay; I’ll be back in ten or fifteen minutes. I love you.”

“I love you, too. Take your jacket.”

I didn’t take the jacket because it was still 69 degrees outside; but I didn’t realize it was so dark! I turned on the RV porch light but it is quite dim, and I couldn’t see the moon. Oh well, I’ll just step carefully, and my feet will let me know where the path is.

After walking about twenty paces past the car, I quickly stopped. Something wasn’t right.

I reached out with my right hand and felt prickly pine needles that I couldn’t see. I also couldn’t see my hand. I rubbed my foot on the ground and discovered I was off the path. Because it was dark and I didn’t use the porch light as a point of reference, I hadn’t walked in a straight line.

Well, what do you know? I thought. I’m off the road. My plan didn’t work out the way I thought it would. Hmmm … Carol might gloat over this.

I looked around and saw the RV porch light, but I still couldn’t find the moon. (I later discovered it hiding behind some clouds.)

Walking toward the light, I returned to the RV.

“I thought you were going to be gone for ten or fifteen minutes. What happened? Where’s your jacket?”

“I didn’t need the coat, but it’s a good thing you didn’t go with me.”

“I know: it’s cold and dark.”

Here comes the gloating.

“Believe-it-or-not, Precious, unless I was looking toward the RV, I couldn’t see my hand in front of me.”

“You were smart to come back. I told you it was … oh, never mind. You want some coffee?”

She didn’t gloat. I love her! “Yes, thank you.”

That three-minute episode in the dark reminded me of a recent news report. A man on a 4-day back-country hike found the body of a woman who had been missing for over two months. Apparently, she didn’t file a plan with the forest rangers, nor had she told friends or family where she planned to hike; and a compass was not in her backpack.

Without proper planning, it is easy to get lost!

What do we need for a successful outing? First, tell someone where you’re going.

Next, REI co-op (https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html) lists ten essential things: navigation (such as map, compass, GPS, etc.), headlamp and extra batteries, sun protection, first aid kit, knife, fire-starters, shelter, extra food, water, and clothing.

The REI author said, “The exact items from each system that you take can be tailored to the trip you’re taking. For example, on a short day hike that’s easy to navigate you might choose to take a map, compass and PLB, but leave your GPS and altimeter behind. On a longer, more complex outing, you might decide you want all those tools to help you find your way. When deciding what to bring, consider factors like weather, difficulty, duration, and distance from help.”

That is good advice, but many people are short-sighted and don’t invest the time to learn about it.

I find the same goes for people traversing this journey we call life. They are raised to fend for themselves and fight to get ahead – often by stepping on others. But they do not plan for the longer journey: the one that begins at death. Without planning for this final trip, it is easy to get lost – permanently.

What do we need? The map is the Bible and is also our most valuable point of reference. Food and water are wisdom and knowledge we learn in the Bible. The headlamp is the Holy Spirit; He will help us see life properly and walk straight. Clothing is the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, and the rest of the spiritual armor found in Ephesians 6:11-18. God, Himself, is our shelter.

Your most important trip is ahead of you. Plan well for it by reading the Bible and learning to live for the Lord. Walk toward the Light.

Protected by a Spider

Okay, I know that title above sounds a little goofy, but I want you to think about something. What does it take to protect us?

Since there are thousands of dangers in the world, let’s get to the spider and branch out from there.

Now, to put it succinctly – or bluntly, if you prefer – a busy spider protected the future King David when he was hiding from the current King Saul. I read a story some time ago in Hebrew literature, and I’ll write it here to the best of my memory.

When King David was a boy, he enjoyed walking through the fields while taking care of his father’s sheep and enjoying nature. He was thrilled to see how each creature gave something to the world. Several examples are, hens lay eggs, bees make honey, goats produce milk, and sheep give us wool. But he couldn’t figure out a good purpose for the lowly spider.  

“What’s the purpose of the spider?” David wondered. He didn’t even find a good use for the web, although he must have forgotten about it catching bugs. As an answer to the question, God seemed to impress on him that everything in creation had its purpose, and that one day he would understand that the spider also had a purpose.

Years went by and David became a hero who saved his people from the enemy by killing giant Goliath. King Saul was envious of him, feared for his throne, and decided to kill David.

David ran for his life and hid in the hills but Saul, with a portion of his army, was hunting for him. One day hearing that Saul was closing in on him, David hid in a nearby cave. Saul’s spies told him that David was in this area and figured they would kill him within an hour or so.

David was now in mortal danger and cried out to God, “Who will help me?”

Unknown to David, as soon as he entered the cave, a spider quickly spun a beautiful, well-developed circular web across the cave’s entrance. Saul’s men reached the cave where they were sure David was hiding and were about to enter it. But when they saw the intricate web, they said, “If David were here, he’d have torn the web to pieces. He must be hiding somewhere else. Let’s go!”

That’s how David realized that the spider, like all other creatures, can be useful, and he immediately thanked God for creating spiders.

What did it take to save David’s life? A spider.

That makes me stop and wonder how many times diversions, incidents, delays, etc., have saved me from danger.

Returning home from Maryland last month, I made a wrong turn somewhere in Pennsylvania which delayed me for about thirty minutes. No big deal. We normally give ourselves extra time because we don’t enjoy being in a hurry. But when we got back to the right highway, there was quite a slow-down. We eventually saw the tow trucks hauling off two mangled cars.

Would we have been in that wreck if we hadn’t taken the wrong turn? I’ll never know, but checking the timing of my wrong turn, that error could have saved our lives.

A spider protected David. A wrong turn might have protected us. What else protects us?

Some years ago, we were attending a local church that we enjoyed. I was a deacon, Carol and I sang in the choir, a couple of our kids were in the orchestra. But one day the idea came to me that we were supposed to leave that church.

I prayed about it, and the Lord impressed me with, “It’s time to go.”

I didn’t understand why, but I had long-since stopped questioning God. So we talked with the pastor and developed a gentle way of stepping out without raising too many eyebrows.

Within a short time, a major problem broke out in the church and reputations were hurt. But because we had already stepped away, we were not affected in any negative way. We were protected by “the still, small voice” we read about in 1 Kings 19:11-13.

Spider. Wrong turn. Still small voice. God protects us in many ways. All that’s required of us is to obey the Lord. John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Don’t allow delays and problems to ruin your day. Those delays might prevent a bigger problems.

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