Homeward Bound With a Walking Stick
Homeward Bound Through a Wintry Forest by Julius von Klever
There is a mood that Julius von Klever captures in this painting by his choice of lighting. It's nearing the end of the day and although the fading sunlight is obstructed by heavy clouds, the white of freshly fallen snow acts as a night light to the man traveling home. Anyone growing up in the cold, snowy parts of the world know these days when a lot of snow has fallen and the saturated clouds have a lot more snow to release. You can see how deep the snow is by the man's tracks as he laboriously plows through the snow with his walking stick.
What lures a person to work so hard against the natural elements to get home? If he had decided to give up while still in the woods he would freeze to death. But it's usually the life of others that lure us on to get home. Home is where our loved ones are. But even if this man lives alone, home is where safety, rest, food, and comfort can be found.
We are all homeward bound because this world as we know it will not be our final home. We are passing through to our final destination. Many, if not most of us, will have times like this man where we'll be blazing a trail that will consume all our energy and strength. If we don't keep going we'll be consumed by the elements.
If our traveler didn't have his walking stick he would go slower and perhaps fall down often. I like to think that the walking stick he carries in his right hand is symbolic of our Heavenly Father walking beside us through everyday of our lives. We were never meant to plow through the heavy snow drifts of life alone. So, if you're doing that perhaps you'd pause a moment to listen.
You have a Heavenly Father that loves you dearly and wants to walk through every mile of your life -- WITH YOU! He has promised "never to leave or forsake us" on that journey to our eternal home. Notice that the walking stick is always slightly ahead of us. It's never even with us or behind us. That is how God walks with us while at the same time ahead of us -- fending off whatever might do permanent harm to us.
So after studying this painting for a long time, I think its question to us might be, "Are you on your homeward journey with or without your walking stick -- with or without God by your side? Having someone with us in life to lean on whether we are strong or weak is the stability we'll need to make it all the way home.