Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it.”
– Isaiah 30:21
The jet-black night was alive with intense pinpoints of light that mocked the beam from my husband’s flashlight.
It was dark, and we had taken the challenge from our daughter, son, and daughter-in-law to get our feet wet in the restless waves teasing the beach outside our vacation home.
I followed closely behind my husband as he led the way on the narrow path through the beach grass. My aging legs groaned as I dug my heels into the deep sand and pushed forward.
We broke out into the open expanse of beach. The moon was a red sliver hanging in the sky. The ocean’s roar beckoned from somewhere far ahead of us. I drew a large arrow with my foot in the sand to point the way to the beach house, and we walked on.
We finally hit wet sand and skittered through little pools of sea water. The sand was teeming with some sort of hopping insects.
Onward we walked toward the sea, a bit more cautiously now. Where was the edge of the water?
A chill ran through me. I looked back toward our beach house. The lights had disappeared behind a sandy berm. The town lights seemed distant against the hulking, forested hills we could not see but knew were there.
Still we walked. Sky and water and land melded into a vast void. We were very far out from the high tide mark. The only sound was the deafening waves.
I stopped, suddenly afraid.
A newspaper headline popped into my head: TRAGEDY AT THE BAY: TOURISTS SWEPT OUT TO SEA.
By this time, my husband was having second thoughts, too. We conceded defeat and trudged the long walk back to the beach house. It was a relief when our flashlight found the arrow in the sand marking the correct path through the beach grass.
We never did get our feet wet in the waves that night. But I was reminded just how easy it is to lose sight of my boundaries and the importance of knowing the way home.
People often think the Bible is a book of rules. Humans hate to be told what to do. We love the thrill of walking the edge of danger. Because we live in New Testament times, the age of grace, it’s tempting to fudge the standards set forth by God’s Word. He’s already forgiven us, right? Wasn’t it all settled at the Cross? Aren’t we really free?
So we flaunt God’s mercy. We plunge ahead with the light we have. We ignore the boundaries.
Then one night the darkness threatens to swallow us whole.
God’s Word is not a set of regulations to keep us in line. It’s the ship coming to rescue us from the deep. It’s the beacon in the storm, the light directing us past the shoals to safety.
It’s a word behind you saying, “This is the path.”