Your Soul was made for Walking

We hit New York City with a vengeance. My wife and I had only four short days to spend with our son and daughter-in-law and we wanted to take as big a bite out of the Big Apple as we could.

  • Day One: We arrived and soon found ourselves on a 1.45-mile-long walk on the High Line, an old elevated section of railroad in Manhattan. Afterwards we went to a belated 29th anniversary dinner while our kids went to a concert.
  • Day Two: The main agenda item was a Broadway musical. The neon lights are bright but not so much at a matinee. But it was great as we walked Manhattan and capped off the day with a seafood dinner back in Brooklyn.
  • Day Three: Karen and I took a “Real New York” tour led by Nathan. It was a walking tour. We literally walked over 19,000 steps. But we saw Times Square, Wall St., Ground Zero, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, Chinatown, Washington Square Park and Central Park. We saw Soho and Noho and learned that H-o-u-s-t-o-n in New York is “How-sten” not “Hyou-ston.”
  • Day Four: We strolled around Brooklyn that morning. When our son got off work at noon he wanted to know what we wanted to do. We said, “Just walk some more sites in Manhattan with you.”

“You don’t want to do anything?” he asked.

“No, just walk with you,” we told him.

We did a lot of walking in four days. There’s something about a walk with people you love, isn’t there? I believe it is because walking with others is wired into our DNA. Walking with God started in the Garden.

“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…” (Genesis 3:8). We get the impression that walking in the garden with the man and woman was a regular occurrence. God desires to walk with his creation.

“Walking with God” is a phrase used in the Bible to denote those who were close to him: “Enoch walked with God…;” “Noah walked with God;” “…the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me…”

Get the idea? God wants to walk with us. The Old Testament prophet Micah reminds us one more time: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Our souls need regular walks with God. Jesus had them. He said, “…the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing” (John 5:19).

I saw something like this on the subway in NYC. A lady sitting near me was talking loudly. She would pause at times, then ask a question, listen, then laugh, listen some more, and state something.

I looked around and could not tell that anyone near her was part of the conversation. I was a bit judgmental and determined she was the kind of person who talks to herself. Outloud. For everyone else to hear. When the subway door opened she continued the conversation as she walked. Near the exit to the street she turned her head and I could see she had a Bluetooth headset for her phone. She could hear something I couldn’t and was carrying on a conversation as she walked.

Just as my subway friend was talking with someone as she walked who was not there physically, your soul wants to walk with God too through the day. Here are a few ideas on how that can happen:

Turn your first thoughts to God. The psalmist writes: “O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” Before your feet his the ground take a moment and offer a prayer to God. Invite him to walk with you through your day.

Turn your frequent thoughts to God. Every task you perform ask God to be in it with you. Every person you encounter, quietly pray that God would lead your words. Every mile you drive, ask God to keep you safe and bless the guy who just cut you off in traffic. God is with us in Jesus. We just need to notice his presence.

And then, turn your final thoughts to God. Again, the Psalmist wrote: “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.” Think about the past day talking to God about it. Let him review it with you. Ask forgiveness for your missteps. Praise him for the good He did through you.

You can then get a good night’s rest. You’ll need it. Because the next day you will be right back walking with God. That’s where your soul wants to be.

Re-Souling Your Soul

Imagine walking 3,540 feet above the ground on a suspended bridge. A nerve-wracking thought?  Then factor in that the bridge is made of glass. Then factor in that near the end of your walk on this glass walkway the glass begins to crack.

That’s the experience some tourists had recently in China. One person posted that she was at the end of the walkway when she “heard a sound. My foot shook a little. I looked down and I saw that there was a crack in the floor.” [1]  She screamed. Others screamed. And then she began pushing people out of her way so she could get off.

Fortunately for the tourists on the bridge the cracked glass was only one layer of three sheets of glass. Nevertheless, the officials closed the bridge until further notice.

Sometimes our lives need to be closed till further notice. There are cracks in the foundation that we don’t often see. They can be caused by a number of things: Stress at work. Failed relationships. Harsh words from a parent or friend early in life.

Whatever has caused the cracks they are present. And unless repaired we would be better off closing down until further notice.

David needed to. There was a time David reigned in splendor as King of Israel. But after his affair with Bathsheba in which he also caused the death of her husband Uriah, his kingdom and household was never the same.

One incident came when his son Amnon lusted after his half-sister Tamar. He raped her and then tossed her aside. Her brother Absalom took her in and cared for her. David? When he found out all we are told is that he was angry.

You’d expect a father to do more. Punish Amnon. Lecture Amnon. Take his car keys away from him. But David did nothing other than feel anger.

Absalom, on the other hand, did do something. He got Amnon drunk and then killed him. And again David did nothing but weep in solitude. His lack of connection to Absalom was interpreted by Absalom as his father being angry at him, so he fled Jerusalem. He and his father did not see each other for years. There were cracks all over the foundation of their collective family and individual souls.

By the time David finally reunited with Absalom it was too late. Absalom led a revolt and took over the kingdom. David ran for his life from Absalom. In 2 Samuel 16:14 he and all the people that left with him arrive at the Jordan. The Scripture then says, “And there he refreshed himself.”   The Hebrew word for “refresh” is literally “re-souled.”

Maybe you’ve resoled a shoe when it was coming apart. You realized that the sole was wearing thin. You felt the gravel underneath your feet almost like you were barefoot. You held the shoe up to the light and could see the light shining through. Instead of throwing the entire shoe out you decide a new sole would wear better.

Maybe we need to learn to “re-soul” our soul when it is coming apart. David’s life gives us some direction of what to do.

  • Get away from the things that are wearing your soul thin: Sin. Busyness. Crowds. Toxic people.
  • Then find a refreshing place, like a river, and reset our soul on God. Psalm 63 was written during this time. Its words can be used as our own.

A fractured soul is like a suspension bridge made of glass hovering 3,540 feet above the ground that is cracking. It’s not safe for anyone. If the bridge is you, re-soul today.