by Commissioner Jolene K. Hodder

After a hectic travel schedule, I recently asked my husband to take a long walk with me along the Rancho Palos Verdes, California, coastline. He quickly agreed. We threw on our exercise outfits, grabbed a cup of coffee and climbed into the car for a short drive to the starting point of the Terranea Discovery Trail. The weather was refreshingly brisk, the scenery stunning and the sound of the ocean refreshing. The best part, however, was being alone with my husband, walking with my hand in his.

The first half of our walk we talked non-stop about work, family and our dreams for the future. When nothing more needed to be said, we just walked, content simply to be together.

After about 45 minutes, I dropped my husband’s hand for a moment to take a picture of the stunning view. When I turned back I saw that he had gone right ahead, walking briskly up the trail. Walking gets my husband’s creative juices flowing, and that’s when he often gets excited about the many possibilities that exist for The Salvation Army. I followed him from a distance for a few moments until he turned, eager to share his plans with me. It was only then he realized that I wasn’t with him and quickly came back to take my hand once again.

As we came around the bend toward our car, I thought of men and women in the Bible. He walked with God is used to describe Enock in Genesis 5:22 and again in verse 24. Those words are also used to describe Noah in Genesis 6:9. But there were many men and women who walked with him. I thought specifically of David. In Psalm 51, we read that he had become so closely acquainted with God that he begged God never to take the Holy Spirit from him. And yet, he too got caught up in his own exciting plans.

God had blessed David in every way. He wanted to give something back, and he had a fantastic idea! God was still living in a rickety old tent, so perhaps David could build God a house, a temple, a truly magnificent structure. After all, God deserved the best. He deserved to be honored. David would make it happen.

He asked his good friend Nathan, who had a direct line to God, about his plan, and he too became excited. But David forgot to ask God. In fact, God had a different plan, based on an entirely different timeline. And God’s plan was much bigger and ultimately much better.

I admit that sometimes I too get excited about my own ideas. Now and then it feels as if I am dragging the Lord behind me, encouraging him to catch up, so he can bless my efforts. I have discovered, however, that if I walk with God and don’t get ahead of him, he allows me to participate in something that extends far beyond me and my limited vision. I have learned that when I stay by God’s side, I am given the privilege of contributing to the grand, longer-lasting story God has planned for the entire world. Now that’s an exciting plan.