Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Paid It All"1 (Lyrics)
Proverbs 13:20a – He who walks with the wise grows wise. (NIV)
What's better than an enthusiastic walking buddy to get us out of the house, even when the weather outside is frightful? I'm blessed to have such a friend. She's an ideal walking buddy because she stretches me. She's young, adventurous, and an enjoyable conversationalist. She's a firefighter; fitness is important to her. Really, we motivate each other. I certainly wouldn't extend myself so much otherwise. With her, we never merely walk around the block on clean, paved streets. No! We head toward rugged terrain, like nature paths. But I feel safe with her. She's sensitive and sensible. If I stumbled, I know that she'd help me. If needed, she'd contact her fellow first responders, and they'd arrive in minutes to rescue me from the wilds. Now, that's an ideal walking buddy!
We need such walking buddies in life. We need companions who help to strengthen our character through their influence. This works both ways. We nudge each other beyond our comfort zones. We stretch each other's thinking through sharing our interests and experiences. We help each other to recognize personal deficits and faulty assumptions. Thus, we help to make each other fit for God's greater challenges.
Isaiah 41:6 – Each helps the other and says to his brother, "Be strong!" (NIV)
Of course, our best companion is God's Spirit, the great Comforter promised by Jesus. Yet, as our Comforter, He stretches us beyond our comfort zones, even to the point of intense dis-comfort. Such suffering makes no sense in our affluent world where comfort and safety are elevated to goddess status. We've come to expect a "safe" God, too — even though Scripture suggests otherwise. God did warn: "you who feel secure will tremble" (Isaiah 32:10).
Indisputably, God is still a consuming fire who deploys judgments among the nations: sword, famine, plague, etc. These upheavals can cause great distress. Yet during the darkest trials, we can personally trust our Lord to be our companion and comforter:
Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)
Thus, like the psalmist, we can truly claim:
- The Lord is my best Walking Buddy; I have no reason to worry. Even though He walks me through difficult terrain, I trust Him to stick with me. He's plenty qualified to protect me and rescue me. Even amid catastrophes, I can still trust Him to guide me along the right paths — for His name's sake — which is what matters most.
Dear friend, can you join me in this personal prayer?
Prayer: O Lord, surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. I'll count on You to refresh my soul along the path, with renewed meaning, strength, and honour. I know that You'll get me home to my final destination — my eternal home with You. Meanwhile, no matter what, Lord, I know that we're on this path together! Halleluiah! Amen.