I am reading a book called Manna by Kevin Stirratt. My friend Wendy, a pastor’s wife from a small church in Oregon sent it to me, as we were preparing to move from Manila and missions with the Church of the Nazarene to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea in a position with MAF International. The book had been a real blessing to her as she struggled with the daily needs and demands of life, and seeing God’s provision.
As I read about trusting God for our daily needs and how we should trust Him in the difficult circumstances being assured that He has our best interest in mind, my mind started to wander…
My granddaughter Noortje as a baby was learning to walk. Her parents would encourage her and hold her hands, letting go at just the right time to help her be able to take those first steps alone. There were a lot of bumps and bruises along the way as she learned and then perfected walking and running. Her parents knew that walking would give her so much more freedom and independence. They knew she would love it once she learned. They allowed her to get some bumps and bruises along the way because that is the only way she would learn to balance and because they knew the end result was worth it!
I felt overwhelmed that this is exactly how the Lord leads us! Holding our hand until just the right time to allow us to take those first baby steps, allowing us to get a few bumps and bruises by life’s circumstances which help us to balance our faith, because He recognizes that they are worth it for the end result of us walking closer to Him. This process continues until we are confident in our walking with Him.
Then comes the next challenge, learning to ride a bike. The degree of pain and injury increase 10 fold over just learning to walk, but the joy and exhilaration of riding fast, of getting where we need to go outweighs the potential risk of injury. This is a challenge not just for Noortje, but for her parents, to allow her to endure the risk of a higher degree of injury and to encourage her to not look at the potential pain, but the potential rewards!
If we choose to play it safe and not get hurt, we will never walk, ride, drive – live!
Choose to take those risks for the benefits that come,
But if we choose to take those risks for the benefits that come, we will live to a much greater extent, with much greater accomplishments, activity and enjoyment. We will encounter problems and difficulties and injury and possibly even a higher degree of bodily harm or even death. (bike/car accidents) But those things are necessary risks in order to truly live life to the fullest!
As I reflect on this, I recognize God’s loving hand in allowing me to endure hardships, separation from loved ones, sickness and threats of bodily harm. As I endure these things, I learn to walk by faith. I learn to depend on Him and His love for me, and His care for me in allowing me to go through these things in order to have more freedom. Freedom from the sin that so easily entangles. Freedom from the love of earthly things and wealth, which allows me to more easily give and bless others. Which in return is a blessing to me. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything! Learning to walk by faith and learning to ride fast – recognizing His hand in the midst of obstacles seeing them as opportunities instead of just frustrations has given me a new level of spiritual insight and freedom!
It really is a choice, do you want to learn to walk? Let go of the furnishings, and step out in faith. Choose to look at the bumps and bruises you encounter in following Christ, as necessary to learn to walk in faith. Choose to see the negative things others may say to you or about you, as a stone not to be a stumbling block, but to step up on to move to higher ground.
Take my hand and lets run this race called life together!