It Is A Process.
The other day I was looking through family photos and I found pictures of my youngest as he was learning to walk. As I was getting all misty-eyed, God brought to mind the similarities between a baby learning to walk in the physical world and us learning to take baby step of faith with God. Both are processes involving learning to trust and moving away from our comfort zones. For spiritual growth to happen, the desire to move closer to something we want must become stronger than our fear of letting go.
A Child’s Baby Steps
As a baby takes a step, everyone is so pleased with them. Everyone stays near and encourages the child. We don’t rebuke them for falling but gently help them back up and encourage them to try again. Then before you know it, they are going from crawling to pulling themselves up and cruising along the furniture. As their comfort and confidence continue to grow they let go of the furniture and try to take a few steps. None of these steps can be rushed or taken out-of-order. How astonished we would be to see a baby go from learning to turn over to suddenly walking and then go back to crawling!
Looking at these pictures, I was reminded that when my youngest was old enough to learn to walk, he didn’t want any part of it. He loved being carried. He would flat-out refuse to budge if I tried to get him to stand on his own or (heaven forbid) try to walk holding my hands. I knew that if he just took that first baby step there would be no stopping him. As his mom, I knew it wasn’t a matter of couldn’t but a matter of wouldn’t. But I couldn’t do it for him.
“Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them. For the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee. He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 KJV)
Baby Steps Of Faith With God
When it comes to things of God, we are like my little one. We want to scoot along the edge of things because we are afraid to let go. What if we fall and look stupid? What if we get hurt? Too many of us are content to stand along the edges hanging on and watching those braver experience what we wish we could enjoy. But Father God wants each of us to stretch, grow, and move forward just as we want our little ones to do the same. Living a godly life and growing as a Christian requires us to take that tiny first step of trust in whatever area God has asked us to trust him with. Then he will ask us to trust him with our next step. Then the next.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV)
We might have moments, just like our kids, that we are overeager and trying to rush ahead. We might be whining about wanting God to release us and let us do more. We might feel Father God is not listening to us or is flat-out ignoring us. The fact is, God hears our every word and feels our every emotion. He will release each of us a bit at a time when he decides we are ready. We don’t get a vote just like we don’t give our child a vote in such things. God won’t leave us alone to figure it out, sink or swim. And just as we wouldn’t get angry with our child if they are not ready to run, skip, and jump, God won’t ask us to take our next step until he knows we are ready.
Baby Steps Can Make Us Nervous
Whatever God is asking us to trust him with, whatever our step of faith involves, try it just once and see what happens. Don’t let fear hold you back or wait for the fear to go away before doing something. Life doesn’t work that way. We will never know all the steps involved before we move so we can’t let worry about what’s next overtake us. When we take that first baby step we will begin to see bits and pieces of the next step before us. Our steps may be small at first but that’s okay. Remember, God is right there with us to hold our hand and steady our steps until we regain our footing and confidence to continue. Besides, if we wait for perfect conditions, we will never get anything done. Or as God puts it:
“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 KJV)
But What Are My Particular Steps?
I’ve no idea. What might seem to be no big deal to one person might be a leap of faith to the next person. Our steps of faith are between us and God and no two walks are the same. It could be that God is telling us to trust him with our finances, our job, our marriage or our time. Or maybe God is encouraging us to trust him in our next step with our ministry or calling. Perhaps God is drawing us to take a step of faith with that addiction we need to break free from.
God knows what we need to do next. If asked he will tell us and he will never let us down. Just as all of our children eventually learn how to go from crawling to walking to running, as Christians we need to let go of our fear and do the same.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV)
Mistakes Will Happen
It doesn’t matter how many mistakes our child makes learning to walk or how many mistakes we make as we learn to step out in faith. We all make them. God is never as disappointed in us as we are in ourselves. God will help us up and on our feet with grace and compassion just as we would for our child. He knows that we all have to learn and grow at our own pace.
But you know what? Father God will be so pleased that we are willing to trust him and try. He will be overjoyed for us to keep our eyes on him and step away from our comfort zone. So stand up on those wobbly legs and take a step forward. Your amazing Father is there to catch you!
“When I said, “My foot is slipping!” Your loving kindness, Yahweh, held me up.” (Psalm 94:18 WEB)