Okay, so I’ve been walking. Today, I made four miles! Nothing for some of you, but for a heavy-hipped sister more accustomed to stilletos, suits and years of sitting behind a desk, that was major! And let me tell the story accurately – I walked three miles, did a bit of housework and then felt inspired to walk some more, so I did another mile. Tomorrow’s goal is four consecutive miles!
I’ve planned several routes so that I can keep track of the mileage, but I’ve had to make a few changes because of various encounters – dogs, heavy traffic, uneven surfaces, street work…the kinds of things you might expect.
But today I was almost “taken out” during the first three miles.
Not by the dogs, though I met several – some small, some old, some noisy and one that is quite large! (Thank you, Lord for high fences and the big stick I carry with me.)
Not by the traffic that whizzed past me (if anyone or anything really whizzes in this small town) when I walked a stretch on Main Street.
It was a pebble!
Not a boulder. Not a rock. A truly, tiny pebble!
I try to watch where I am stepping (there seems to be an inordinate amount of animal poop in this town), but I was listening to music on my MP3 player and praising God as I walked. And then it happened.
My ankle turned.
Even though my doctor told me years ago that the expression “weak ankles” was a misnomer (a wrong or inaccurate use of a term), I have them! I know! The left is weaker than the right even. I’ve had sprains, strains, torn ligaments and have sported an inoperable chip fracture for more than 25 years. My ankles are weak.
And that pebble got me.
Now, I would have seen a big rock. I’m looking for that poop. My eyes scan for fallen branches, twigs and even acorns and nuts. I wasn’t looking for pebbles – especially on the section of my route where I encountered it. But it got me.
And that’s how life is. We often miss “the little things;” we aren’t watching for them. Surprises catch us off guard. Our enemy can catch us off guard, too, and he can take us out! Which is why the Scriptures teach us to be self-controlled and alert; our enemy, the Devil prowls seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8); to pray at all times and keep alert with all perseverance (Ephesians 6:18); to watch and pray (Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38); to be on guard (Mark 13:33) and to keep awake and be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
If I had been watching, looking, paying close attention, noticing how the surface was changing, I probably would have missed that pebble. I would have taken a different route or, at the very least, changed sides of the street. Likewise, if we remain awake, sober and alert, we improve our chances of seeing the Devil and changing our routes to avoid his traps and snares.
But how often do we walk without watching. The way is familiar. We are paying attention to other things. Our minds wander. We are distracted.
Satan counts on those distractions. He often sends them! Satan knows that God is the captain of our ship; our guide as we walk with Him. When we lose sight of our captain or our guide, we are left (or think we are) to navigate our own way. We choose the path, and frankly, we often choose wrong. Our way is not His way (Isaiah 55:-9), and our way can lead in the direction of missed opportunities, missed blessings and mistakes. Our way can lead to sin.
A little distraction shouldn’t be a problem, right? It’s okay if I watch this one movie. I’ll drink with the girls this one time. Since I’m hanging out with the boys, smoking this one joint won’t be a problem. Telling an off-color joke just once should be alright. Who’ll know if I fudge on my taxes just a little? My husband doesn’t need to know EXACTLY how much I spent; it’s just a little white lie.
Remember, it was a pebble that took me out.
THIS WEEK reassess your walk and the route that you are taking. Are you watching where you step? What paths and routes do you need to change? Has a pebble taken you out? Seek first aid (“If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9), and commit to walking a different route!