What does it mean to walk with the Lord? As I finished my last blog post, thinking about walking in eternity with Jesus, it occurred to me that He calls me to walk with Him right now, too. But how do those two thoughts compare? Walking with Jesus, talking with Him about His Word, worshiping Him, basking in His grace, enjoying His glory—these are all things I’m looking forward to when this life is done. Thinking on eternity with Christ brings unimaginable joy to my heart. The thought of walking with Him in my perfected body brings wonderful feelings of peace and happiness. But plodding along the earth in this broken body? No, there is no great joy in that thought.
Yet, in a sense, the Lord calls me to walk with Him in that same light, even now. He expects me to be joyful (1 Thessalonians 5:16); to bask in His grace (2 Corinthians 12:9-12); to glorify Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); and to delight in His Word (Psalm 119:35) even now, while I am still here experiencing the pain and frustration of life in a fallen world. Is it possible that I could experience, at least to some degree, that same joy that I will have with Him in eternity? I believe that it is possible to delight in the Lord in this life, in this body, even on this day.
But how do we do that? How do we walk with Him here on earth in contentment and joy, when what we really want to do is complain and cry? The key is to focus not on the walk, but on Him. As we are walking and moving and doing life in this body, we can focus on our circumstances, our pain, and the vain hope of this world. We can become obsessed with getting better, regretting the choices that brought us here, or envying those who are physically stronger. Or, we can make a better choice. We can turn to the One who is walking beside us.
Imagine that you are already in heaven, walking beside Jesus in that beautiful place. How often do you think you will take your eyes off of him, to look at yourself? My answer to that question is, as little as possible. If that is my eternity, and that is what I am longing for, why am I not doing that now? If I can’t wait to get my eyes on Christ, to be near Him always, then why do I so easily turn from Him here? Because I have developed a pattern of thinking that is self-focused and not God-focused. As I work to change my thinking, I am beginning to have more of that joy and contentment that God’s Word promises.
Romans 15:13 says that when the God of hope fills me with all joy and peace in believing, the power of the Holy Spirit will cause me to abound in hope. Did you catch that? The God of hope will cause me to abound in hope because He fills me with joy and peace in believing! None of this is my responsibility. He is the God of hope, He causes me to hope, and He fills me with the joy and peace I long for. All I have to do is abide with Him, walk with Him, express my heart to Him, and hear His voice through the Scriptures. As I fix my eyes on Him, He will lead and direct my heart. What an amazing God we have! The more closely I walk with Him here, the more real our eternal walk becomes in my heart. My hope is that, as He leads and teaches me, my heart will become so bound to His that walking here and walking in heaven will be barely discernable!
There is no circumstance that can steal the joy of a child who is walking beside her loving Father. With Him, I am safe, I am protected, I am loved, cherished, treasured. No pain, no disability, no regret will ever change that. Because He loves me, I can walk with Him into any circumstance without losing my joy, and best of all, I can take the hand of another broken child and bring her with us. I can show a lost soul the glory and wonder of being found, and I can lead a sister who has lost her way, back to the path of joy. Oh, to be used of God in this way. What a privilege! What a hope! What a Savior!