Walking The Plank

The Lord shows me so many things through my silly, sweet, and sometimes scared dog, Jack.  He bravely alerts me to a knock at the door, but ducks when he sees a moth fly by.  We all have our fears, human and animal alike.

A few days ago, Jack and I were taking our weekly walk with dog friend, Mishka, and her owner, Viv.  It was a perfect day in the English countryside as we walked through the woods, exploring a path neither of us had been on before.  The air smelled fresh.  Sun filtered through branches and brightened fields of wheat and corn.

At one point we came to a small gully.  It was about six feet wide and six feet deep.  Two planks were fixed atop for passage across.  When we got there, Jack started to go down, but he stopped quick.  It was too steep.  He put a paw on the plank but backed away.  At first I grabbed his harness with intent to lead him across, but my friend suggested I simply walk over first.  I stepped onto the planks and began making my way across when I felt Jack’s head bump me on the back of my leg.  He was following close behind.   So sweet.  “Brave Jack,” we both praised him as he trotted on to continue his explorations.

That short episode of walking the plank reminded me of each one of us as we follow the paths our Heavenly Father has revealed.  Aren’t there sometimes scary moments along the way?  Don’t we face a plank to cross and feel we may fall in the attempt?  What lies on the other side?  Will we be harmed?  Frightening questions swirl among our fearful thoughts.

Perhaps, at times, we stand in church singing that old, lovely hymn, “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go.”  We truly mean it as we sing the words, but then reality sets in.  He has led us onto an unchartered path.  We’ve never gone that way before.  Will the planks hold us?  Will we lose our balance?  Will we fall into who knows what?  We are frozen in apprehension.

Then, what’s this?  We sense that sweet presence of the One who promised He would never leave us nor forsake us.  He goes before us.  In some trembling we put our foot onto the plank.  We step up following where He leads.  We make it to the other side!  What relief!  Success!

We often think of our own joy in such moments of victory, but have you stopped to imagine the pleasure Jesus gets when He feels that bump on the back of His leg as we follow as close as we can get?  It rather warms my heart to think that each one of us following close to Jesus, gives Him great joy, too.  It’s the relationship of the Shepherd with every lamb who follows Him.

From Jesus to You

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”  Isaiah 43:1-3

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