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Posts Tagged ‘bushwalking’

IMG_20170915_104850396Last week, I decided to walk to some nearby bushland to explore a path my husband had told me about. As instructed, I headed down some rough, wooden stairs and turned right at the creek bank. I continued on slowly, stopping at times to enjoy the beautiful setting and listen to the numerous birds in the surrounding trees. While I was familiar with the tinkling bellbird sounds and the raucous screeching of the sulphur-crested cockatoos, all the rest left me feeling so curious—and ignorant.

But as I kept walking, I began to experience a different feeling as well—an unwelcome sense of fear. While the path ahead looked well-used, it was uneven, with rocks and tree roots protruding in spots. I had good walking shoes on, but I knew I still needed to be careful where I put my feet. Then my mind and imagination began to work overtime. What if I fell over and hurt myself? There was no one else in sight and no houses close by. What if I was not found for a long time?

You see, a couple of years ago, I did fall over while out walking. My foot twisted under me when I stepped on a small, innocuous looking branch on a perfectly flat, concrete bike path and pow—I hit that concrete with one almighty thud! On that occasion, a cyclist passed by soon after, stopped to help me to my feet and made sure I was okay before riding on. I thought I was—but, as it turned out, I ended up with a chipped ankle bone.

As I dwelt on this past experience, I believe God intervened, halting those tumbling thoughts and enabling me to put things in better perspective. This time around, I was indeed taking much greater care as I walked, whereas on the day I fell, I was still mulling over a talk I had given that morning and was oblivious to my surroundings. I also had my mobile phone with me, so could easily call my husband, as I did when I hurt myself. Besides, another walker would probably come along soon—and there was a busy road not so far away. All up, I was quite safe.

Then I remembered something else—and almost laughed out loud at myself. All week, I had been reading whole passages of Scripture on the theme of ‘Learning to live trustingly’. These included various verses about getting rid of worry and anxiety, about being more than conquerors, about trusting God in every situation—even about walking on straight paths!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Yet here I was, forgetting all those beautiful words in a moment of fear. I had indeed tripped up badly.

At that point, I sensed God smiling at me and whispering: ‘I’m right here with you, Jo-Anne—I haven’t left you. Don’t let that old enemy trip you up with fears and worries. Don’t let him bring you down. Just enjoy my creation around you—and enjoy this moment with me!

I think I need to read all those verses through again very soon and truly believe them this time—don’t you?

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At the moment, my husband has a broken arm.  He managed to trip while out bushwalking with a friend and, as a result, his arm is broken in two places, necessitating a full caste.  Now one of the key drawbacks out of all this is that he can’t drive – which definitely ‘clips his wings’!   And of course there are other smaller drawbacks as well – like the inability to tie shoelaces, cut up food, mow the lawn and so on.

At first, my husband didn’t know his arm was broken.  He knew it hurt, but decided to wait until things settled down and he could describe exactly what was happening before seeking any medical help.  In fact, after walking home, he chose to keep his promise to our granddaughter to take her to the movies – after all, he’d already paid for the tickets online!  So he then drove her to the movie theatre, sat through ‘Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang’, had a milk shake and drove home again before deciding to go to the doctor.  A visit to the hospital then ensued and a few hours later, his arm had duly been x-rayed and encased in plaster.

Now I’m sure my husband has learnt a lot through this experience.  But as I have watched him struggle with various tasks and also deal with some degree of ‘after-shock’ and fear of falling again, it has caused me to reflect on how many times we all go about with ‘clipped wings’ in some form or another in our lives.  We might know we aren’t functioning fully as God would want us to – but we can’t say exactly how.  It may be we just don’t feel right – that we’re struggling in some area that once was easy, that we don’t seem to enjoy things as much, that we are dispirited or frustrated.  But we can’t put our finger on the exact cause of our pain or discomfort – so we just put up with it, perhaps deciding that this is the best we can hope for.

Or perhaps we know exactly what’s wrong – that our ‘arm’ is in fact broken and not just bruised or strained.  But perhaps we don’t want to face up what it will mean to have our broken parts attended to.  Or maybe we honestly don’t know where to find the help we need or even trust that the treatment offered will be effective.  On the other hand, perhaps we have actually learnt from past experience that the best course of action possible is to head straight for the ‘hospital’, to the One Who knows and sees exactly what the issue is and can do something about it.  And as we honestly admit to where it hurts and trust in the help God offers us, then we will truly be healed, strengthened and enabled to ‘fly’ again.  As Isaiah 40:30-31 says:

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  

And that’s wonderful news, don’t you agree?  So may you spread your wings fully this week and soar with all the strength God provides!

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