Today, I walked my regular four miles on the mile-long trail at Clepper Park. This morning, there was a fresh dusting of snow on the trail, and because I was alone, with no other walkers or runners braving the cold, my shoe prints remained undisturbed. With each mile, my shoe prints from the previous mile(s) were noticeable.
On my second time around the trail, I noticed my steps had gotten longer. I’d found my pace.
On my third mile, I noticed that my pace was just a little quicker still, perhaps because I had identified the icy places under the snow and walked with a little more confidence. I knew where to step. I had gained wisdom. I also noticed that many of my shoe prints had become frozen to the path, moisture under the snow having mixed with the compressed snow to form icy molds of each step I’d taken. My steps were being recorded!
As I looked at these frozen molds on my fourth mile around, I thought about how I was walking through my history, of how the story of my life over the past forty minutes was indelibly written on the path before me. I read where I had slipped a little. I read where I’d walked more carefully—obvious because my shoe prints were closer together—because of ice under the snow. I read where I’d kept my pace and where I’d slowed. I read where I’d swerved out of distraction or simply to avoid little ankle twisters. The complete Braille-like history of my walk was clearly visible for me and future walkers to read and study, though I doubt anyone cared!
As I thought about this, the Holy Spirit reminded me that every choice I make on this journey with him is also recorded, indelibly written in his book, that book which will someday be opened and from which my works will be judged. The truth sobered me and humbled me. I haven’t always walked well.
As I look back over the miles of my life, I can see that I have grown. My pace has quickened. My steps are straighter. I’m stumbling less. It’s not easy for Satan to seduce me from the path now. Grace has taught me—is teaching me—to walk.
As I walked through this short three-plus mile history lesson at Clepper Park, I also thought of the prayers I had prayed on that first loop, and then the second, and then the third. Aren’t those recorded, too? Everything I’d pondered, every meditation of my heart, every prayer I’d prayed (my morning walks are also my prayer time) was in the past, but in a sense, it was also present—forever recorded and marked by God. All that is history now, I thought, but all of it is recorded, stored up wherever God stores these things.
This morning’s walk made me want to be more careful of how I walk. My prayer this morning is from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Heavenly Father, help me to be more thoughtful, careful, and wise in how I walk today, making every moment count for eternity. In Jesus name, amen.