Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

We live in a walking neighborhood. Very early most mornings, Bill and his neighbor Cindy can be seen covering our streets at a pretty good pace. George is retired and walks at different times of the day. John is a regular walker, too. His dogs take him for a walk almost every morning! Most doctors agree that walking is good for the heart.

When I first started ‘hoofing it up the hill,’ I would go out to the church on the highway where my friend (and fellow bag-boy school graduate) Ted Edgar preaches and walk around the temple seven times. Ted came by one day and said he was glad to see me walking. “Just don’t shout,” he said. “I don’t want the walls to fall down.” Walking can make you feel like shouting. Especially early in the morning just about daybreak when the sun is just making its way back to our side of the world. It matters not when you walk, just that you do walk.

Back home at Route 4, walking was a way of life. We walked everywhere. Or we didn’t go anywhere. Except for the rare ride on Daddy’s pulpwood truck. We walked to church. I can even remember walking to the two-room Return Grammar School. First grade in one room with second and third grades in the other room. Went to school one morning in the second grade and walked home that afternoon in the third grade. Just moved across the room. Mrs. Pruitt probably moved me to get me away from Ralph Nix and the other eraser-dusters that she kept sending outside! Truth be told, I think they’d rather be outside beating the erasers on the trees than to be in the classroom studying geography!

And then later, as a love-smitten teenager, captivated by the charms of the mill-hill girl, I’d walk to town just to spend a couple of hours with her. And then walk back home! Sometimes we’d borrow her daddy’s car and ride back out to the farm to see the folks after ‘turning the Time-In a couple of times.’ She could never stay very long, though, at our place at Route 4. Many years later, I found out why. Something about our bathroom being down behind the smokehouse! But even when we borrowed Pop’s car, I’d leave it and her at her house, and walk back home. Ain’t love wonderful!

That was a ten-mile round trip. With some hills along the way. And a couple of mean dogs, too. And sometimes it’d be so dark, you couldn’t see your hand if you held it up in front of your nose. But if there happened to be a big, bright moon driving the darkness away, I’d be thanking the Lord all the way home!

Jesus had a first cousin named John, and they walked together a lot during Jesus’ ministry here on earth. Come to think of it, I guess they walked everywhere they went. Couldn’t catch a bus or call a cab. But John was a fisherman, and Jesus loved him and taught him how to be a ‘fisherman of men.’ So John became one of Jesus’ disciples. They ate fish together. They walked together. And John got to see Jesus perform many miracles in person.

I have a feeling that when they were walking together, it never was dark, as far as John was concerned. I think John probably felt safe and secure walking with Jesus, even at night. In one of his letters to other early Christians, John wrote about walking in the Light (1 John 1:5-7).

He said they didn’t need any street lights, or even a big full moon. Because Jesus IS light,  and when you’re with Him, there is no darkness at all (v.5). I like those two little words – at all. To me that means no dark corners for monsters to jump out and scare the heebie-jeebies out of you along the road of life!  But only IF, and that’s a big, little word, too, only if you’re walking with Him.

If we’re not walking with Him, there’s darkness all around us. With Him, there’s no need for street lights, spot lights, or flood lights. And when we get to Heaven, there won’t be any street lights, either. But, unlike those country roads we used to walk back home, there won’t be any need for street lights because Jesus is the Light of the world. When you’re walking with Him, darkness takes a vacation. His cousin John saw that Light up close and personal as they walked together.

Is it dark where you’re walking today? Do you imagine that there are monsters out there in that dark ready to jump out and devour you at every turn? The road of life without the Light can be a scary place, for sure!

Maybe it’s time to tell darkness to take a hike. Turn the Light on and go for a long walk.