Casual Walk in the Park
by Gerald Shuler
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The other day I was invited to take a casual walk through the park with Jesus. He met me at the park entrance with a smile on His face, seeming as though He were looking forward to the walk even more that myself. Actually, I was somewhat apprehensive about the “casual” part of the casual walk. Jesus is my Lord, though, so there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to get to know my Savior better.
We walked through the garden path that led to a large, white gazebo. As we walked, we passed a man nervously hiding behind a large bush. Jesus stopped and faced the man so I stopped as well.
“Who are you hiding from?” Jesus asked.
“I’m hiding from people who would hurt me.” The man stood up and I could see fear in his eyes as he looked at me, as though I had hurt him more than any other person.
Jesus took the man’s hand. “I was hurt by those who loved me and those who didn’t. Have you been hurt more than Me?”
“Lord, that is not for me to decide.” The man knelt down behind the bush and continued hiding.
We walked a little further and passed another man, holding a box closely to his bosom. He was hiding behind a tree stump. Jesus stopped and faced the man so I stopped as well.
“What are you hiding?” Jesus asked.
The man rose to his feet and faced my Savior. “I am hiding my talent.” He seemed compelled to answer.
“Are you ashamed of the talents I have given you?” Jesus’ voice was gentle, yet firm.
“Lord, that is not for me to decide.” The man knelt back down, trying to vanish from sight behind the stump.
Only a short distance later we passed yet another man, hiding behind a massive rock.
“How long have you been hiding?” Jesus asked.
“My entire life.” The man came out from behind the rock.
“Isn’t it time to stop hiding?”
“Lord, that is not for me to decide.” The man reluctantly ducked back behind the rock.
We were nearing the end of our walk and I felt offended and confused. We hadn’t had a chance to talk at all because of the three men hiding along the path. Jesus understood.
“What offends you?” Jesus asked.
“Those men wasted our time together.” I pouted.
“Why do you say it was wasted?”
“Lord, they weren’t even willing to stop hiding.”
“And you think they should?” Jesus waited patiently for my answer. I gave none so He asked me another question. “What made you confused?”
“Each man claimed that he was not the one that could answer your question. Lord, I don’t understand.”
“Let me explain.” Jesus put His loving arm around me. “The man hiding from people has hurt himself more deeply than anyone else has hurt him.”
I could see the truth in what Jesus was saying.
“And the man hiding his talents is really hiding from his responsibilities. He has been called by Me but he refuses to answer the call.”
Once again, I could see the truth about that man.
“The man that has hidden all is life is the saddest of all the men.”
Perfectly clear to me. Jesus could still see the confusion in my eyes. With more tenderness than I have ever witnessed, Jesus turned me to face the path we had just walked. All three men had come out of hiding and stood in the middle of the path. My heart nearly stopped when I got a good look at the three men.
They were me.
“Lord, I don’t understand. How could those miserable men be me?”
“I have been seeking you for many years but you have refused to realize you were hiding.” Jesus smiled warmly. “I thought this walk might help.”
I crumbled to my knees. Suddenly, things were all too clear. Only I could answer my Lord and Savior about my wasted life. Humbly, I took a small note pad and ink pen from my pocket and began to write:
Lord, You questioned
but my soul would not answer.
You searched for my spirit
though I was unaware
my spirit was in hiding.
I am ashamed, Lord,
but not of You.
I am ashamed
Only I can answer
for foolishly hiding.
Lord, You found me…
I’ll not hide again.
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Oh for the privilege of a walk in the park with Jesus! All we have to do to get it is to believe in Him! Thanks for the great story.