I went for a jog on the beach. The beach here is usually packed and flat near the waterline and good for running and walking. But this day was different. Maybe it was because I was getting a late start, but the water was further up the shoreline than usual. The normally wet, packed sand area was minimal and the incoming tide threatened my steps. I found myself navigating the natural curves created by the ebb and flow along the shore.
I desperately wanted to avoid running in the soft, fluffy sand further from the water’s edge. Even though it is layered atop sand packed into rock, it is like trudging through snow. I carefully choose each foot fall, jogging along a very narrow divide between the dry and the wet sand. I was also trying to avoid a unique problem I call “Jello sand”.
The sand nearest the water actually looks firm, smooth and packed. It is not. It is actually saturated with water from below. When stepped on, it wiggles below your feet and jiggles like Jello. Not only is this unstable, but if you do not step quick enough, you will sink into it. Jello sand coats your shoes making the tread useless and your feet extra heavy with chunks of sand.
By the time I trudged my way back where I started, I found myself laughing at my previous foot prints. Each imprint was lined perfectly along the divide between dry sand and Jello sand. Instead of a neat and shorter path, straight from point to point, my steps had taken me in a zigzag pattern all along the beach. I had obviously gone out of my way to avoid doing what was difficult.
This could be a good representation of my daily walk in life. Jello sand is much like the sinful temptations the world offers us each day. It looks solid and trust worthy, but it is not. Walking in it leads to destruction and robs us of joy. It binds to our feet, weighs us down and ultimately can grip and ensnare us. How often do I let myself walk as close to this line in life because it is easier than choosing what is right? I know what is right, pure and pleasing to my God. I know from His Word His desire for me and His call for my obedience, yet I walk just on the edge of righteousness….teetering at times. I do this because, like trying to trudge through the dry fluffy sand, doing what is right is not always easy. As one of my friends once noted on a Facebook post, “Right decisions hurt bad sometimes.” We are called to be obedient to His Word, but it is much easier at times to ignore it.
In Matthew 7:24-26 Jesus told a parable that reminded us of the importance of avoiding “Jello sand”.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and ACTS UPON THEM, shall be like the wise man who builds his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on solid rock. And everyone who hears these Words of Mine, and DOES NOT ACT UPON THEM, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And when the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against the house; it fell, and great was its fall.”
Obedience to the Word of God does not mean we will not have storms in life, it means that we will come through the storm. Not obeying His Word sets us up for failure when the storms hit our lives. Jesus not only said it would lead to failure, He said “great was its fall”! We will find our steps bound up in Jello sand, stuck, sinking and unable to move forward.
Unlike my jog along the water’s edge, I don’t want to allow myself to step so close to disobedience. I do not wish to follow along the trail of Jello sand in life.
I want to choose to do what is right, even when it is difficult.
Lord, help us to see the steps You desire for us. Help us to be diligently reading Your Word and seeking to be obedient. Lord, we pray You will continue to keep our feet from sinking sand, even if it demands we walk through difficult times. Amen