Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I like the quote of Albert Camus which you may have heard before: ”Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend”.
It’s a great quote that’s worth thinking about—there is so much about it that rings true as we walk through life. He was a French Nobel Prize-winning author, journalist, and philosopher and died in a car accident in 1960.
I’m sure there have been times when you wished someone would walk beside you. Someone who would not give advice or try and tell you what to do—just a friend who would understand and help you. Often the term ‘spiritual mentoring’ is used at church, and it’s a wonderful concept if you’re brave enough to accept the program. While each of us must take our own journey and each journey will be unique, it seems to me, from what the Bible says, we are not intended to take that journey alone. Can we learn the value of accepting a mentor who will walk life with us? For those who have done the journey, the benefits are vast.
I don’t think we fully appreciate the power of encouragement and love as we try to walk beside others. It often is a powerful experience, and deeply personal. I saw a poster with these words: “Who knows the joys that lie ahead? The secret smiles I’ll find, the friends I’ll meet, the memories sweet, the cares I’ll leave behind? Who knows the beauty of the days I’ve never seen before? My only wish for life is this: the courage to explore.”
God walks with you—walk beside your friend
It seems everything we do in life is based on performance and how well we do it. The pressure put on society to be the very best at everything we do is immense. How many of us struggle because we can’t keep up with all this performance-driven stuff! The pop song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is loved by so many. Why? Because it sends a message we each need, that someone will walk through daily life with us. If you’re married, hopefully your partner is that person who is your best and most supportive friend. I think being married to the wrong person would be hell on earth.
God walks with you today as your friend. You may have heard the poem about the man who walked along the beach and saw a second pair of footprints in the sand. He was told the second pair of footprints were God’s. But then he became angry, as he realised that there were times when only one set of footprints was there. Where was God for him then? “It was then that I carried you”, God replied.
Learning to have that trust in God is so valuable not only for our faith, but also our peace of mind. When you live knowing that you are held by the hands of God at all times, you breathe a little easier, sleep a little sounder and worry just a little less. Because you trust in God to always be there for you—and most importantly to never leave. Psalm 71:5 says: “For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence.”
We can give the gift of support to others
One of the hardest lessons we need to learn is this: we cannot fix others, but we can walk beside them. This message applies to our children, our siblings, our parents, our friends. The gift that we can give to those around us is to walk beside them and to offer support in any way we can. Only the individual can choose whether to accept our support. Each of us has our own lessons to learn and by walking beside others and offering support, each of us can help others to learn and learn a little ourselves.
You may have heard the saying, “I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three.” It’s a wonderful truth. In finding a soulmate in life, you find someone who will walk life’s journey with you—through the good and bad days.
The Bible is quite clear that others are our business. Philippians 2:4 says “Do not be always concentrating each on your own interests, but let each be equally concerned for the interests of others” (William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible). As Aristotle said a long time ago, “Men were never meant to be snarling wolves but to live in fellowship together”. It really is what Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”. (Matthew 22:39)