Straight Paths (Part Two)

My steps have held fast to your paths;
    my feet have not slipped.

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
    incline your ear to me; hear my words. Ps. 17:5-6

In these times of self-isolation and social distancing, I wonder how connected we are. In a world that was crazily busy, we can now walk through the streets doing our daily exercise without the hustle and bustle. Now that the panic buying has somewhat diminished, people on the whole seem friendlier and more social. Telecommunications have moved on and the video conferencing facilities are proving a lifeline for many, that are yearning to see their friends and loved ones. There are times when we need to connect and times when solitude is a treasured and blessed thing, but we must remain connected to God.

Previously I was reminiscing about our walking holiday from Plymouth to Lyme Regis, and this is where I will continue. The damp, foggy sea mist had evaporated and ahead was two weeks of glorious weather. Our ferry man took us across the estuary this time rowing, rather than using the small fishing vessel of the previous day. We settled into a rhythm of steady walking, stopping to take in the spectacular views, enjoying each other’s company, but the silences were not awkward, just being together was enough.

We were following a guidebook, that we did not realise was a little out of date, and the place where we wanted to set up camp for the night, no longer existed. Our load was too heavy, we took many superfluous things and we now faced the prospect of heading inland to find a guest house. Stripping off our boots and socks we paddled our aching feet, in the gentle waves of the cool, crystal clear sea. Suddenly three young boys came running onto the beach and started chatting to us, after a while we waved go bye and set off in search of somewhere to stay; a few minutes later we heard a shout and turned round to see three pink bottoms being waggled in our direction.

As we trudged to the village, the skies darkened and against the opaque, sullen sky there was the most beautiful double rainbow, The guest house was closed, we continued to the village and in a pub order some food and asked if there was any where we could stay the night. The landlord made a quick phone call and said yes, it was the guest house we had passed about one mile ago. The owners had just returned from holiday and had not changed the sign. Relieved and ravenous, we enjoyed our meal and retraced our steps, returned to the guest house, and thankfully fell into our beds.

The bible gives us direction that is never out of date and God guides our every footstep. Sometime the terrain is rough, but we see beauty along the way. A kind act and word go a long way. God is there in the solitude and He goes ahead of us to prepare our way, He nourishes our soul and gives us rest, He also travels with us and He is the greatest companion.

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