Love can build a boardwalk...
...straight through the Alligator Marsh.
That's where I was this weekend with my family---walking through the swampy marsh of South Louisiana LOOKING FOR alligators! Are you kidding me? What were we thinking? Yes, that is exactly what we were doing. Very near dark, too. As you can tell, we made it back safely to our humble abode just a few short miles from the nature trail in Fontainebleu State Park.
As we ambled along this fine structure of a boardwalk through the swamp, I of course had many thoughts.
"Son, don't fall in. Please!"
"Will the light of a cell phone be enough to see the path on both the boardwalk and along the muddy trail through the woods to get us back to our car? It is about to be dark, after all, and we didn't plan this jaunt, therefore we did not quite come prepared. Are my Sunday dress shoes evidence of that? Thank the Lord I wore flats."
"Is that really an alligator peaking his head out of the water right there? What is stopping him from swimming right over here and joining us for dinner on the boardwalk? How could he resist?"
"Oh, look at that beautiful, serene sunset over the marsh as the birds are flying off into it. Wait---sunset---so how are we going to see our way back the whole one and a half miles through all of this?"
Yes, these were merely a few of my calm, cool, and collected thoughts on that unplanned jaunt into the Louisiana swamps.
Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy the precious time with my family in such a beautiful setting our God created. It truly was serene and inspiring. Even as I struggled against my mother-thoughts, some of which managed to slip out of my mouth making me sound like a worrisome mother, I'm sure.
Amidst all of these musings, one stood out the most.
If you've ever heard of The Judds (a country music mother-daughter duo), then you probably are hearing one of their songs in your head right now, as I am.
Love can build a bridge...
Well, I realized that day that not only did our Father's love for us build a bridge to span the chasm that is between us and Him because of our sin and His holiness... (by the way, that bridge is His Son, Jesus)
...but often His love builds a boardwalk for us.
Typically, bridges allow us to go over something.
Boardwalks, especially like the one in the marsh the other day, take you right into the heart of the place.
Rather than going over or around some of the things we face in life, oftentimes the way of our Lord for us is straight into it and through it.
In those times, His love builds us a boardwalk.
If we recognize His path so carefully prepared for us, and chose to step our feet of faith upon it, then we can avoid sloshing through the waist-deep muck and mire surrounded by swamp grass that smothers us in height. Instead, we can walk boldly and sure-footedly right into and through the midst of some pretty dangerous surroundings. We can observe and learn from what we see occurring around us without fear of being pulled under, stuck, or harmed by the many creatures lurking beneath the murky surface.
Are you facing or already in the midst of
some ominous swamp of life right now?
Are you ill-prepared? Without a flash-light?
In your Sunday best but staring at the Monday worst?
Have you met The Bridge, Jesus?
If so, have you found the boardwalk your Father has prepared for you
to help you into, through, and out of this murky marsh?
Does it seem as if there is not and never will be a boardwalk
in your situation to help you through and out of it?
Take heart! We have been promised it is there...and it is.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13
The key is to recognize it and then to take that way He has provided.
No matter how deep into the mess you already are, take the way out.
Admit your faults and your weakness.
Admit your need for Him and His strength, hope, and guidance.
Take the help He offers.
And for those who are feeling fairly on top of the world with no need for a boardwalk in sight...
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!- 1 Corinthians 10:12This is the verse that immediately precedes the first one I quoted---and for good reason it is placed where it is in scripture by God. Just after this warning, we are told about temptation and one of the words used to describe it is "when" you are tempted...not just "if." We will all be tempted, and you could even use the word tested here.
Testing, trial, and temptation WILL come.
It's a matter of WHEN, not IF.
Heed the words of our Lord through His servant Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. Be careful that you don't fall. Know that your tempting and testing and trials are not as unique to you as they may feel like they are. Jesus knows your pain, confusion, struggle, weakness. Others on this earth may even relate to your current swamp of life in ways you can never imagine.
You are not alone.
You Father has gone before you and made a way.
Once you have discovered and accepted His Way, The Bridge, Jesus---always know that He has gone before you and prepared many boardwalks and highways through life for you.
Look for the boardwalks.
Ask Him to reveal them to you and to give you the strength and wisdom and humility to step onto them and follow them along His way for you.
- What murky marsh is swamping your life right now?
- Do you know The Bridge?
- Have you discovered His boardwalks for you?