Keep Walking

canyonviewSometimes in life we find ourselves in a deep, dark valley. Often it feels more like a narrow slot canyon where no sunshine can reach.

The Narrows slot canyon at Zion National Park is 18 miles long and if you want to walk up it you’re in water—often very deep water, with a strong current and rocky bottom—all the way. It’s not for the weak or faint of heart.

My husband and I hiked part of the way up the Narrows last summer. There was no way I could make it the full 18 miles. Even the mile we did trek was almost too much for me. My wristband that says “I can and I will” reminded me of the hope I needed to make it back down river.

Life itself isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s impossible without hope. Thankfully, hope never dies. And God never leaves us alone.

David reminds us in Psalm 23 that no matter how dark the slot canyon of life becomes, we are not alone. We must always remember these words, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” We are only walking through the dark valley and on our darkest days, hope is there.

So if you find yourself today walking in darkness, unable to see the light, keep walking. Even if you can barely muster a crawl, keep moving forward through the dark valley. You can and you will reach the other side. And when you do, you’ll find hope was there all along.

My valley of the shadow of death lasted more than seven years. At the time, I felt all hope was lost. But looking back I can see that my Savior never left me. Hope never died, dim though it was.

I pray you may one day look back and see that hope has never left you either.

Linda L. Kruschke blogs at Another Fearless Year and is also a contributing author at Anchored Voices.

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Just a Father Looking For His Son

 

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“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”

Luke 15:20, NLT

The actions of the prodigal are worth considering.  At a specific moment of time he stood up, looked around, and then decided to return home.  But he is no longer a ‘rich man’s son’, the pig-pen crushed that idea.  Truly, the devastated prodigal still has a small spark left– his set belief in his father, and it is that which gives him propulsion to go home.

The trip is a long one, lots of walking, and it’s hard, but then, he is seen! Please understand, the love of God is a searching/seeking kind of l,ove.  It simply will not shut down, or go away over time. It is never shut-off. It is a 24/7/365 kind of love.

Think of it like high intensity radar that sweeps over extreme distances, it is always seeking,  and it won’t be denied.  The Father is always seeking for His sons and daughters.  He intends to find them, at last. You can think of it in another way. It’s like having a warrant for your arrest, (in a good way.) It will never expire, and it will find you. You will always be a ‘wanted’ man, or woman. Always!

The compassion of the Father is an aggressive and reaching kind of mercy

He reaches out and penetrates through a whole lot of sin.  But as I read this, and think, there seems to be a lot momentum coming from the Father. He is far from passive, or ‘ho-hum’ toward His son. He is fully into reclaiming His lost sons and daughters.

Sin disfigures
Sin disfigures

The Father recognizes His prodigal son.  Gross sin has a way that disfigures a person’s countenance. Look at the wino or meth addict on the street. The boy who abruptly left home is not the son who returns.  There has been damage done.  His face has changed.  The Father understands this, and yes, it has been terribly hard and brutal.

The Father shows a delightful compassion for His son.  We see Him running.  He drives Himself to chase down the Prodigal.  He could have easily step back and just waited for the Prodigal to prove himself.  But we see a ‘running love’.  He has a real ‘running love’ for His son, and that is worth considering.

Notice dear “broken believer,” that all the actions are the Fathers.  The Father is doing everything.  He runs at the Prodigal, He embraces him and He kisses him.  We see a Father that will do anything for His prodigal son.  On the other hand, the prodigal brings nothing but himself.  He simply receives from his Father.

This parable is the greatest of all.  It show’s the deep love the Father has for prodigals like us. It gives us the reality of the spiritual in the physical.

It very well could be that the Church will falter and be confused over the presence of the prodigal at the door.  When we see love like the Fathers, lavished on silly fools, we can grow skeptical.  If the Church can keep pace, and accept the actions of the Father toward ‘prodigals’ of all backgrounds, we will be doing His will in the world.

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