Walk With Me
Have you ever prayed like this: "Lord, please stay by my side all day" or "Walk with me wherever I go today"?
I prayed this the other day, and a very interesting thought occurred to me. Why, I thought, would God ever leave my side? What could possibly induce Him to step away from me or leave me alone?
Scripture says that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8). God promises Abraham, "I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places wither thou goest" (Genesis 28:15) — a great verse for frequent travelers. There's also that scripture in Isaiah that says He'll be with us when we pass through the waters and the fire; the rivers won't overflow us, and the flame won't kindle on us (43:2). And don't forget Jesus' last words to his disciples in Matthew: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
These scriptures really pump up my confidence. After I read them, I feel like I can walk pretty much anywhere knowing God is by my side.
But ... I can't deny the fact that there have been times when I've felt profoundly alone. Why is that? If God promised never to leave me, then why have there been times when I've gone without His Holy Spirit?
OK, there are probably a dozen good answers to this question, depending on how you look at it, and I'm going to explore just one.
Picture this: I start the day with the Lord by my side. He's sitting next to me at my desk while I'm working. When I go out to run errands, he's in the passenger seat of my car. He's in the kitchen when I'm cooking. He's right there.
Now, imagine that I'm going about my day, and something distracts me. I'm tempted. Whatever it is, I know it's not right. So, I tell the Lord, "Stay right here. I'm going over there to check that out. Don't come. Wait for me here. I'll be right back."
I'm like the man in Proverbs 21:16 who willfully "wandereth out of the way of understanding." It's like Jeremiah 2:5 says, "They are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity." In Lamentations 4:14, I'm described as a blind man meandering the street. In 1 Nephi 8, Nephi sees in his vision how even some people who ate the fruit of the tree of life became ashamed and "fell away into forbidden paths" (v.28). Isaiah 59:2 is another goodie to mull over.
When I feel estranged from God, I should really ask myself, "Have I wandered? Have I strayed? Did I disconnect myself?"
Far too often, my knee-jerk answer is NO! ... but the true answer is yes.
Telling God "I'm taking off, but I'll be back" is more dangerous than I realize. When I read those verses in Proverbs, Jeremiah, Lamentations and 1 Nephi in full, they detail the consequences. Even though I intend to come back to God, after straying farther and farther each time, I may eventually get to a point where I stay lost.
So, maybe next time I will pray, "Lord, please help me not to go anywhere you're not welcome in my heart."
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.
P.S. Remember our first Gospel Lesson is tomorrow! Text: 1 Peter 2:5-9