December 27, 2022

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A while back I got to explore the world my wife grew up in. And I've been going to a lot of beautiful back roads. One of those was this road that she walked every morning to the school bus. She was only five, and it's about two miles from where she lived to the main road. Fortunately, she was not the kind who bored her kids with, "When I was your age" stories. But boy this would have made a good one. That was a long, sometimes scary walk for a little girl alone. I can almost picture it when we were driving there.

As we drove, my wife said, "Now, Mom stood by the road there and watched me until I got to this point. And then when Mom couldn't see me, I was within sight of my grandparents' place." Then she told me how she passed from one security zone to the next until that last stretch. And there it was...just woods. And she was out of sight of any of those "watched me" people. That was the scary part. There was no one. Well, not exactly no one.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Walking That Final Mile."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Psalm 23:4. You'll recognize the earlier verses where they talk about the Lord being our Shepherd and He makes us lie down in green pastures. He leads us by quiet waters and then He guides us in paths of righteousness. Verse 4, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

Well, here's your life's journey; stretches of green pastures, quiet waters, some righteous paths, and the valley of the shadow. Maybe you're there right now, or you're about to head into one of those valleys. It doesn't have to be death. It can just be a dark time; a time when you are or when you feel very alone like a little girl walking beyond all the people who could protect her or who could help her.

When I asked my wife what she did when she hit that lonely stretch of her walk, she said, "I sang the only songs I knew - Jesus songs." Sounds like what the psalmist wrote, "I will fear no evil for You are with me." When no one else can be with me, You are with me. In fact, that's what Jesus promised in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you or forsake you." And He said in Matthew 28:20, "I am with you always." That dark, lonely part of your walk I call the Jesus stretch. It may feel like it's a time when you're abandoned, but it is the time when you can experience Jesus as you've never experienced Him before.

I have a doctor friend who I talked to recently, and he's been through this painful year. You know, his very vibrant son-in-law had a battle with cancer and then his son-in-law died. He himself had a painful injury. He's gone through some major personal changes. I said, "Boy, I'll bet you'll be glad to see a new year." He said, "Yeah, but it was a great year too, last year for my family and the Lord."

Often it happens that way doesn't it? The Bible says, "He's a very present help in time of trouble." See, you never really know the Lord until you really need the Lord. And you never need Him more than those seasons when no one else can help; it's too dark to see; when all of your usual points of reference are gone. And if you collapse into His arms and let Him love you, you will touch Jesus as you've never touched Him before.

In this dark stretch, and ahead...the darkest stretch of all - the last stretch - before the end of your life, you need the one person who will be with you through every season, every stretch of the road. That Jesus will walk with you. But first, you've got to begin a relationship with Him. That happens when your sins are forgiven. And only He can do that, because only He died for them.

At the moment when you reach out and say, "Jesus, I want to take that forgiveness. I want to take that eternal life You died to give me." You have the wall between you and God come down and He is by your side, walking with you through every step of the rest of your life and right into eternity.

Our website is for that purpose. I invite you there. It's ANewStory.com.

You'll never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you've got. And you might be there right now. This is supposed to be the Jesus stretch. It's that part of the road where Jesus is the only one who can walk with you. And strangely, it is the safest stretch of all.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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