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Walking With Jesus

Recently one Saturday I did a 16km hike on my own in Kerry (Ireland). This was a first for me to hike that distance on my own! 

The Lord has been teaching me a lot in recent years since I did a visualization exercise in a bible study group based on John 21 where Jesus asks Simon Peter three times, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” We were asked to observe the whole scene and when Jesus has finished talking to Peter, imagine He then turns to me and asks me the same question.  I was quite shocked the first time I did that and found I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know the answer! After some time on repeating the exercise the picture moved on for me and I felt Jesus putting His arm around my shoulders and walking beside me uphill explaining things to me.  I feel He has continued that over the last few years through my life’s circumstances and experiences. 

I prayed as I walked along the way on Saturday. The terrain was very beautiful and varied with mountains, woodlands, rivers streams, boglands and ascents and descents. I noticed whenever I wondered if I was on the right path or got a bit nervous some people would come by in the opposite direction and exchange a few words assuring me of the path ahead. I realized God knew I was becoming afraid before I knew and had it all in hand! 

At one point in an amazing green, mossy ascent in woods the path was bordered by two bubbling streams rushing downhill. I was aware of the huge depth of sadness in me that is rarely far below the surface and I asked the Lord if I would ever be free of it. I felt Him saying, “This is a beautiful place I have provided for you to leave it here with me.” I then became more aware of the 2 streams and I got a certainty that the streams were like the rivers of the Holy Spirit surrounding me on both sides with a clear pathway in between. I noticed streams of living water close to me in any tricky place! I climbed on feeling much lighter.  

On rough patches the way was still clear. I had such a feeling of awe and wonder on the hike, miles from houses, roads and mostly empty of people, such silence and tranquility. I found myself smiling so much and soaking it in. While there was a very soft mist most of the time at no time did it affect visibility, and I never got saturated or felt cold. Indeed the mist was pleasantly cooling on my hot cheeks from the exertion! There were boardwalks on the boggy places and stepping stones crossing many streams. 

Further on I came across red berry holly and I was reminded again that Jesus shed His blood for me and the green leaves reminded me that He also gives me eternal life. How amazing is that! 

A few days after the walk a very good solid Christian friend referred to Jesus’ question to Simon Peter. They commented that it was only when Jesus established Peter’s love for Him, after denying Him and being refined by that fall from grace, that He raised Him up and gave him His task. I think that is a word for many of us. We are being refined and go on being refined and when we feel we have come to the end of ourselves, yet hang on by the thread of our tiny love for Him, that is all He requires and it’ll be amazing what He will do with that. 

Sylvia lives in Ireland. She connected with Inspire through the School of Discipleship.

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