Links Daily Devotional

A Meaningful Walk

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18, ESV)

During my recent adventure with Links Players Fellowship in the Valley of the Sun (aka Phoenix), I played three rounds of golf, and two of the three I walked and carried my bag. Although I still prefer a caddie, feeling the weight of the bag on my back brought back lots of good junior golf and collegiate memories.

As much as I enjoyed the stroll around Mesa Country Club, it didn’t come without a price. I don’t play very often these days, let alone walk and carry my bag. But the small amount of suffering my shoulders and feet felt was well worth the enjoyment of experiencing the contours, smells, and beauty of the course with all of my senses.

Walking is rhythmic. It is a steady, repeated movement that can be sustained for long durations of time. Speed doesn’t matter as long as there is movement forward. This feels true for walking with God as well, especially in our pain and suffering.

Timothy Keller writes, “A walk is day in and day out praying; day in and day out Bible and Psalms reading; day in and day out obeying; talking to Christian friends, and going to corporate worship, committing yourself to and fully participating in the life of a church. It is rhythmic, on and on and on. To walk with God is a metaphor that symbolizes slow and steady progress” (from Walking with God through Pain and Suffering)

Soon we will pause and remember Jesus’ suffering. I imagine his walk up Calvary was slow, steady, and rhythmic. Jesus knew he was walking toward the cross and yet he stayed the course.

Timothy Keller offers further insights for how we can walk through our suffering and stay the course in his that I quoted above.

He says we must remember to weep and be honest with ourselves and with God about the pain and sorrow we feel. The Psalms especially invite us to lament and pour out our soul to God. Closely connected to weeping is praying. Ask questions, complain, be angry, but do it all in prayer to God. He is patient. He can handle it. He wants to listen.

Trusting God’s wisdom and his love in the midst of pain and suffering propels us in a steady, forward movement. Whether or not our circumstance matches our desire, trusting God allows him to be in control. And while we trust God, we also need to think about what God has done in our lives in the past and what he is capable of doing in the future. Thinking is listening to, reasoning with, and talking to our hearts. We have the capacity to direct our thoughts down a particular path until our heart catches up. This might not change the actual situation, but it will change our attitude toward it.

Keller recognizes that suffering can open the door to self-examination. It begs us to ask, “How do I need to grow? Are there weaknesses that this suffering is revealing?” Self-examination wrapped in kindness deepens our maturity in the Lord.

Lastly, staying in community is critical for moving through pain and suffering. Community offers love and support when we are weak and fragile. Your community can’t take away the pain, but they can be the physical presence of Jesus as you walk through it.

Jesus taught us how to weep, pray, trust, think, self-examine, and stay in community. Following his example will help us walk the slow and steady path toward a greater glory that is still yet to be revealed.

Tracy Hanson
March 26, 2015
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