Monday, March 16, 2009


Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

                        Genesis 5.23

On Our Feet

Walking is the unsung casualty of modern life. If there’s a conveyance at our disposal, nine out of 10 of us will use it. We do everything we can to make walking an inconvenience. We push businesses and establishments we regularly frequent far from home. We pass a row of locally owned restaurants to drive through a fast-food franchise. At airports, we stand empty-handed on people movers invented to offset lugging heavy bags down long terminals.

We rationalize this with the notion that walking wastes time. How foolish this is. Walking creates time. It slows us down and makes time to ponder more important matters than getting from place to place. It changes our priorities from cramming too much into any given hour or day to accepting our limitations. Walking allows us to think on our feet; it thrusts us into the world to encounter sights and sounds we otherwise might glide by. I’m going to the limb’s edge here, but I believe inordinate time cocooned in our cars nurtures unwise impulses, ambitions, and ideas that wouldn’t trouble us so if we spent more time on foot.

Walking with God

God enters our story walking. Genesis 3.8 says Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” Prior to this, Genesis concentrates entirely on our role in God’s story—our creation, purpose, responsibilities, and so on. He drives the narrative up to the point we bite into humanly indigestible knowledge of good and evil, immediately misjudge our situation, and flee to the woods to hide our shame. After we hijack God’s epic of perfection, He literally steps into our saga of disobedience. He releases us to wander where we will without abandoning us entirely. Far more aware than we of how often our illicitly gained knowledge will lead headlong into trouble, He stoops to become our companion. “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people,” He declares in Leviticus 26.12.

God walking with us is one thing. Walking with God is another. Our walk with God starts by returning to the garden and surrendering control of our story. We give up all we think we know and willful ambitions and attitudes based on following our own way. The roles reverse. We humble ourselves to become God’s walking companion. And before we take the first step together, we echo David’s confession in Psalm 119.176: “I have strayed like a lost sheep.” God mercifully draws us next Him with forgiveness and says, “Let’s take a walk.”

Carried Away

Once we set out with God, mortal fixation with endpoints stirs impatience to learn where we’re headed and how soon we’ll get there. We revert to our old nature—compulsion to do rather than contentment to be. Walking with God focuses our attention on shared conversations and experiences along the way. We can’t waste precious moments on questions about where He’s taking us, because He’s chosen this direction specifically for us—to show us things we normally miss, teach us lessons we avoid, and slow us down to hear His thoughts. Here’s how Proverbs 3.5-6 recommends we approach walking with God: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” When we walk with God, we let Him choose the destination, knowing He’ll take us where we need to be.

Genesis tells us Enoch walked with God and vanished. He was no more because God took him away. Reading this as a kid provoked excited giggles. I imagined Enoch and God strolling and talking, unconcerned about time or life’s demands. Where they’re going doesn’t matter to Enoch. Merely walking beside God is more than enough. In my mind, I saw Enoch leaving the ground—so slowly at first he doesn’t realize it. Rising high enough to see the world from a perspective unlike any he’s known, I envisioned God asking, “Is this OK?” Why wouldn’t it be OK? Nothing in the world can hold Enoch down. Now I understand what my child’s mind innately grasped. Walking with God is vanishing—being carried away from ourselves, what we know, and all we fear to be with Him.

Walking with God makes the most of our time with Him by trusting He’ll lead us where we need to be.

(Tomorrow: Man on the Run)

Postscript: Scroll Down

If you missed yesterday’s post, please take a second and scroll down to its postscript. There’s a suggestion there that you may find interesting….

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