(By Heather Marshall)
“I want to be able to walk again.”
As a rehab professional working in a hospital, this is probably the most common goal that I hear from my patients. Walking is a highly valued activity for many reasons.
For humans, it is our main way of getting from one place to another. It’s nice to know that if we have no other means of transportation, we can always walk. Look no further than your local real estate ads to see how valuable this is because one common house selling feature is “within walking distance.”
Walking is also a wonderful form of physical activity. Research has shown that daily walking has many benefits for our health. A few of the benefits include: improving cardiovascular fitness, strengthening muscles and bones, improving muscle endurance, increasing energy, elevating mood, and promoting good sleep.
Social connections and relationships are also deepened on a good walk with others. Walking side by side, we become in sync with one another. Studies have also shown that while walking, blood flow increases to our brains allowing us to express ideas more fluently and therefore communicate more effectively.
We often walk in nature, which is an amazing way to take in the beauty of God’s creation. Focusing on the wonders around us as we walk relaxes our thoughts, and as we experience release from stress and worry, we find our thoughts turning to God in praise for all that He has done.
Since walking is such a fundamental and beneficial activity, is it any wonder that the Bible very frequently likens the Christian life to walking? This metaphor is often used by the Old and New Testament writers to characterize a life lived in closeness to God, which propels the individual forward in living out their faith.
In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we read, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” By faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on Calvary’s cross, we are traveling through this life to our final destination in heaven with God our Father, God the Spirit, and the Lord Jesus Christ. What an amazing privilege to be “walking” together with our God!
Our hearts are overwhelmed when we consider the cost for us to walk on this path to future glory. Jesus had to walk a difficult and dark path in order to make this a reality for us. He walked many miles to share the good news and show love to those He met, but His most difficult walk came as He carried His cross to Calvary to show His love to us. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Sorrowful Way'' or “Way of Suffering”) is a route through the old city of Jerusalem that is believed to be the path Jesus walked to his crucifixion. Because of our sin against God, we deserved that “walk of shame” but Jesus, God’s perfect Son, came into this world and He took our “walk of shame” for us. The words of the song “Via Dolorosa” describe it perfectly,
“Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King
But He chose to walk that road out of
His love for you and me
Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary.”
Shame no longer has a hold on us. We now walk with God in freedom and joy as we live by faith surrendering our lives to His control.
Unlike physical walking, which is immensely aided by sight, the Christian walk is one of faith. We cannot see heaven or God, but faith in God and in His Word allows us to move forward in our Christian walk. As we spend time in His Word and in prayer and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit, our faith is strengthened and our walk advances.
Before any of my patients who have experienced a stroke can begin to walk again, they have to develop foundational core strength and balance. Our limbs function most effectively from a strong core. As Christians, our core strength comes from the Holy Spirit. He lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16) and He guides us (Romans 8:14). We receive such freedom when we place all our faith in Him, putting unbelief to rest.
Sisters, let’s walk in freedom and joy, relishing in the truth of a risen Savior and the words of Psalm 119:45 “I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.”
I encourage you to take a walk in God’s beautiful creation this weekend, and as you walk, meditate on the words of the song “Walking Free” by Micah Tyler.
“So now I’m walking, walking
No more darkness
Guilt has lost its grip on me
When mercy called my name
Those chains fell at my feet
And now I’m walking, walking