Watch Your Step!


I was out doing ‘the penguin walk’ on the ice laden lane and sidewalk this morning as I spread salt and sand to make it safe for others. I find that I am much more careful with my footing these days than before. I have learned from painful experience that I don’t heal as fast as I used to, and that my pre-fractured jaw is no longer ‘impact resistant’ but fragile. Life has made me careful!

I wonder though whether life has had the same affect on my spiritual walk. Too often, I blithely stride through life without a thought for the hazards. I walk as if on even ground. David, the Psalmist, knew better. He knew that he trod, in the midst of ‘miry clay’. In Psalm 66 he thanks God for preserving him and keeping his foot from slipping.  I find myself expressing similar thoughts when I safely navigate the ice coated side walks and parking lots, but David’s thanks were for safety in his spiritual walk.

We live in a slippery, uneven, and land-mine filled world. When my feet touch the cold floor, I begin a spiritual as well as physical walk. There are many potential pitfalls ahead and my GPS is not to be trusted! I can only look to God for wisdom, guidance, and safety. As the ancient prayer says, “for thou only make us dwell in safety.”

I am advocating, first to myself, and then to you, that we take at least as much care to ensure sure spiritual footing, as we take on the temporal plane.

My heart goes out, on days like this to my friend V. who suffers terribly with anxiety. One of the things that sets her off is winter weather. She obsessively watches the Weather Channel and worries about snow removal and slippery walks. Lately she has found a measure of help in reading the Psalms in place of weather news, and she now regularly calls to talk to Linda or me. She talks and we listen and then we pray together. It is heartening to see progress, but the mental obsession does not go away. We can help but we cannot heal. This anxiety is likely life long, but my friend is learning to trust in the faithful care of God.

We went this Sunday to hear my son preach, at his church. While there we got to spend time with our friend G. and her family. She has long been a member of the rag tag bunch who identify with Street Hope. In our early days G., who suffers from a variety of mental illnesses, prayed pleading simply and powerfully that her family would come to faith. Over the years, one by one, they have come! Recently her dad was baptised! It was a joy to see them all together on Sunday and to know that the faithful prayers and witness of this young woman who struggles through life, have been so wonderfully answered.

As we strive to stay safe in a slippery world, let’s also remember to ‘lift one another up’. We have such a faithful Father.