When we moved to Ireland, one of the things we noticed was how near we were to shops, schools, meetings, and most things, really. The old streets are laid out with feet in mind, not tyres, so the buildings in towns and villages are close together. Now, I can walk most places, and a lot of times, I do. I know it’s slower. Most people walk at about 3mph, and my car is faster than that even on narrow streets. From that perspective, walking isn’t the most efficient way to get around. So why do it?
Obviously, saving on petrol is important these days, but I was walking when the price at the pump was a lot lower (last month, if you can remember). I walk because I have other goals beyond the simple journey from A to B. By walking, I can meet those goals—I can have a few minutes of space to think and pray clearly (which is easier while I’m moving, for some reason), I can have time to exercise (which is hard to find, for some reason), and if I’m walking with other people then I can talk to them and I don’t know exactly why but talking and walking at the same time is one of the best ways to have a conversation (the other best way is when food or coffee are involved).
So I walk. And a pastor at a conference I was at recently pointed out that I’m not the only one. The Bible is full of people walking, and God walking with people—from the Garden of Eden, to Enoch who “walked with God”, to Jesus and his disciples, and many more. It doesn’t sound very efficient, all of this walking. It’s ordinary. It’s slow. Sometimes it’s boring, and tiring. Then again, maybe God’s goal for his people is more than just getting us from A to B as quickly as possible. Maybe he has other goals, goals that don’t come from soaring over the valleys and mountains of life as quickly and comfortably and efficiently as possible, but actually come best from walking—together—through the thick of it. Didn’t David say that when he “walked through the valley of the shadow of death” he would not fear, because God was with him? The God of the universe didn’t buy him an airline ticket. He walked with him, through the valley, at 3mph. And the close relationship David gained with God on that walk has inspired people around the world ever since.
It turns out that God wants more than just to get us somewhere. He wants to get us. So he leads his children home—