I don’t remember my first steps, and since I don’t have children of my own yet, I haven’t had the privilege of teaching a child to walk. But I know that this “big step” in life is a momentous occasion. I imagine that this one small step for man can really feel like a giant leap in that moment.
Imagine with me: I’m learning to stand. This requires a strength that I don’t have. I cling to something solid – maybe it’s a coffee table or a chair. I hold on with all my strength to something that I know can hold me up. Those first few attempts are hard. I can’t stand for long. My legs are wobbly, and time and time again, I fall. But I don’t give up. I was made to stand. I keep trying, and with that practice, I gain the strength to stand for longer periods of time.
But what good does it do me to just stand for the rest of my life? I feel an urge to go somewhere, but I haven’t gained my balance yet. That’s when my father takes me by the hand and doesn’t let go. He holds me up while I take those first steps of freedom. I’m walking places I’ve never walked before, and it feels good. I’m not too afraid because I know that he won’t let me go.
I’m getting stronger, but I’m still holding on. I haven’t felt ready to let go yet. Letting go is scary. It’s uncertain, and it can be painful. But my father is coaxing me to try: “Walk to me.” He’s right there in front of me. Do I trust him? He doesn’t let go until he knows that I’m ready. With tender care, he releases my grip from his fingers and holds out his arms. He’s only a few steps away, but in that moment, it feels like a million miles.
I reach out to him in desperation and carefully lift my foot…one step closer to him. We’ve practiced this…another step. He feels so far away. Is this what it means to trust? A third step…I don’t know if I can go any further. “Come to me. Come to Daddy.” I want to be with him. I always feel safer in his arms, but it’s taking so long to get there on these unstable legs. I don’t know if I have the strength to make it, but I’m going to keep trying.
Do you see it? Do you get the picture? “The steps” referenced in Psalm 37 are baby steps. They’re steps of faith. These steps are laborious, slow, and scary at times; but we are called to walk them. Our Father is urging us forward – calling us to “press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. He’s there right in front of us beckoning us forward: “Come to Me.”
Many times, He feels so far away, and we don’t understand why we can’t just be held safely in His arms. But the truth is: He’s never too far away to catch us if we fall – as we surely will. It’s a struggle, but it is a growing process. We’re alive in Christ. We’ve been born into His family, but we are made for a greater purpose than just to be a safe, sheltered child of God. We were meant to move forward in faith – to walk the path that He has prepared for us.
We’ve practiced this. In those first days as a believer, He helped us to stand – strengthening our spiritual legs until we could stand upon the truth of His Word. We learned that the only anchor for our soul – the only Rock that we could cling to was the hope found in Christ. All other ground is sinking sand.
In this trial and error of learning to stand, we quickly learned what we could rely upon – what would hold us up. We may have tried to lean on something that we thought was solid only to find that it was not sufficient to meet our needs. We desperately clung to friends, to family, to our jobs, to our finances all in an effort to gain our footing. We placed our full reliance upon them, but they were not made to support the weight of the burden that we carried. We needed something made to withstand the storms of life that constantly try to knock us off our feet.
Psalm 40:2 – “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
We’re growing, and now it’s time to step out in faith. He’s still waiting. It’s a life-long journey, and each day walked in faith is another step closer to Him. He’s calling me to Himself. I struggle for balance as I lift my foot one step closer to Him. He’s proven that He’s faithful…another step. Is this what it means to trust? I don’t know if I have the strength to make it, but I’m going to keep trying.
Lord, I’m walking to You!