Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
For years, a long walk around my neighborhood had been part of my daily schedule. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend time in prayer and connect with God. One morning, planning to take my regular route, I prepared my usual supplies: water, a towel, and sun protection. I was doing the same thing I did every morning, but this day was about to become anything but routine.
As I headed out my front door, something told me to take a different route. I hesitated at the idea of a new adventure, but I couldn’t resist the prompting to take the same path I always did, just in the opposite direction. The trail I use makes a big circle around my neighborhood, I knew it well. I thought. Walking this new way immediately showed me new things I’d never seen before.
At first, I lost my sense of direction. I knew I was on the right path, but things looked so different that, for a minute, I was disoriented. Once I got my bearings, I noticed stuff I’d never seen before. Walking in the opposite direction brought me a fresh perspective on so many things.
I realized I had missed a lot of vital signs during my routine walk because I always saw them from behind. “Do Not Enter when Flooded.” “Speed Bump Ahead.” “Caution.” “Uneven Sidewalks.” “Beware of Snakes.” I was astounded. For years, I had missed vital information that I needed to be aware of for my safety.
As I built up my momentum, the path seemed more manageable. I didn’t struggle going uphill on the sidewalks, and the sun was against my back, so I wasn’t getting flushed or pouring sweat. Familiar landmarks appeared, and I realized that despite the fear and doubt I’d had at the beginning of this walk, the path I was on still led me home.
Walking in the opposite direction and changing my view made me more alert. I paid more attention to the signs and looked behind me to remind myself where I had been.
As I returned home that day, the Lord reminded me of how, in His Word, He uses the symbolism of a walk to describe the way we grow in our relationship with Jesus. We might start out by sticking to what we know, afraid to let go of what’s comfortable even though it’s bad for us. We’ll likely continue moving in our own direction, but we’re deceived if we think we know better than God what’s best for us.
When Jesus comes into your heart and life, He beckons you to walk in a new direction. At first, it might seem scary, unpredictable, or challenging. You might feel completely confused, like I did that morning when I changed course. Don’t be discouraged. It doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path. God promises to go ahead of you and fight for you (Deuteronomy 1:30). He’ll protect you from behind (Isaiah 52:12). If God asks you to move to the right or to the left on the narrow path, you can do it knowing He will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Listen for His voice. Take one step at a time toward the good plan and purpose He has for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). Your faith and confidence will grow as you discover that our Lord is good, and He wants only what is best for you.
Are you ready to walk in the direction of eternal life that His work on the cross has secured for you? Jesus is waiting to offer you grace and mercy, and He wants nothing more than to guide you home to a place of safety in His arms where you can rest.
Julie Engstrom is a wife and mom who uses her gifts of teaching and encouragement to help other women find and embrace their identity in Christ.