1/19/23 Companions

Deb’s Devotions

A few years ago, I attended a leader’s retreat at Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center near Toano, VA. One afternoon I went for a walk on one of the trails. I grabbed a walking stick to fend off spider webs and to tap the ground to alert snakes that I was there and they should go away. The trail was wide, well-marked, and sunny. I walked alertly and talked to God. The trail descended slowly, narrowed, and the canopy thickened. It dipped down into a low muddy area where I had to go around a tree. I realized suddenly that I didn’t know the woods, but I did know there were copperheads. As I drew nearer to the swamp, I tapped the ground more forcefully with the stick. I grew more timid; where was I going, how long was this path, how far away am I from people, why am I here alone?! I suddenly wished for a noisy group of people to be walking with me!

Then, I saw a five foot black snake lounging by the path. I skirted around it and kept walking, but FEAR overcame me as I imagined what I might encounter next, and I decided to go back. But, I would have to pass that snake again! I walked slowly until I saw it, then really whapped the ground with the stick. It slithered off and I high-tailed it back the path, not caring about anything but getting back to open spaces!

As I got to the wide sunny part, I realized that I had been taught a lesson. Walking alone was okay until I encountered fear, then I wanted companions. Isn’t that much like my Christian journey? I can go confidently along by myself; but when life’s circumstances become challenging, I sure want companions on my journey who will provide encouragement, support, comfort, and prayer. That is part of the joy of being a member of the Body of Christ; when obstacles are encountered, my sisters and brothers are present to “be Jesus with skin on.”

Especially when there are snakes.

“So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11