You’ll often hear me say that going for a walk provides me with inspiration. Whether the inspiration is for a blog post here, for solving a problem, or just life. Over this Christmas period, I have been blessed to dog sit for a gorgeous Spaniel called Reggie. He requires walking 3 times a day, so safe to say – I’m buzzing with ideas.
I was thinking about the gospel as I walked (it being Christmas – I felt it was the most appropriate thing to dwell on) and I somewhat absent-mindedly ended up in a very muddy, boggy part of my walk. I was slightly afraid of losing a wellie – which wouldn’t have been helpful halfway through the walk (and the furthest point from home).
As I squelched through, and focused on my wellies and keeping them on my feet, I realised I was pretty heavily caked in mud. My wellies took the worst of it, but I have short wellies (I have rather large calves, so normal wellies don’t fit me) so my jeggings had smears of mud up my calves, knees and thighs.
I decided I would be better off moving to the side of the muddy track. It looked like more solid ground compared to the inches of mud I was wading through. Whilst I fought my way to the side, Reggie was having the time of his life – running through the mud at full tilt (hindsight suggests that some of those splatters may have been caused by him).
I finally got to the side, and was pleased to realise that I had been right – this was much sturdier ground. I was safer from the mud here. However, this presented a different set of challenges. The sides of the path were beset with bushes and branches which tried to push me back into the mud – and the worst part: the thorns, grabbing at my waterproof.
Finally, I got through the rough patch and returned to solid ground (I was suddenly grateful for the path in a way that I wasn’t before). I continued walking a way, and as I got close to the end, I called the dog to return, so I could put him back on his lead.
Now, he’s realised when it’s getting close to the end of the walk – and when I call him back then (I do it a few times as I walk) he doesn’t return. He carries on doing his own thing. So I was stood there, with my hand raised in the air (his command) calling him, whistling him, waiting for him. It took him 15 minutes to return to me. I felt a little impatient and annoyed – but I didn’t let him know. I praised him for having returned, and headed home.
On reflection, my walk illustrated the gospel. We go through life on solid ground most of the time, but on occasion we hit a rough patch. Sometimes we wade through and get through it. Sometimes we think we can see better ground, so wade towards that, only to find it brings a different set of problems. We often think we can only rely on ourselves to get through these things – or we put everything on our partner, or friends. But sometimes they can’t be there to support us, and sometimes our legs will give out. It might even be that you get to a muddy spot, fall over in the mud and can’t find the strength to get up again.
Whether you are covered head to toe in mud, or you’ve tiptoed round it doesn’t matter. If you have been running away and doing your own thing – that’s okay too. God is standing there, with his arms wide open, calling you home. He doesn’t care if you’re spotless or caked in mud – he’s so excited that you’ve decided to return to him. He’s going to take care of you – carefully clean you up, lovingly dry you off, and wrap you in the biggest hug you’ve ever experienced.
He’s not going to be slightly annoyed/exasperated/impatient but praise you – like I did with Reggie. He’s genuinely ecstatic that you have decided to return to him. He can’t wait to throw a major party in heaven to celebrate your return home.
If you aren’t familiar with the God I’m talking about, feel free to get in touch with me using the contact form below. Alternatively, you can find a local Alpha course here, Alpha is a course that allows you to ask questions about who God is, who Jesus is and takes you through the gospel.