“And step by step You lead me, and I will follow You all of my days.”- Rich Mullins
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”- Proverbs 16:9
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.
On our recent destination vacation to Bayfield, WI and the Apostle Islands, Vicki and I took time out to hike the 1.7 mile Doughboy Trail at Copper Falls State Park. The trail follows the Bad River and Tyler Forks around the scenic heart of the park. The 29-foot drop of majestic Copper Falls marks the first thunderous drop of the Bad River. Further downstream, Tyler Forks merges with the main branch of the Bad River as it plunges into the canyon over Brownstone Falls. The Tyler Forks Cascades appear near the end of the trail. The rapids descend step by step through at least six cascades on their journey.
In Hebrews 11:8-9 we read: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out into a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land.” John Ortberg highlights this passage as one of four defining moments in the life of Abraham, moments when Abraham walked step by step with God. The second key encounter involved defining the covenant relationship between God and Abraham. The third defining moment involved the birth of Isaac, even though Abraham and Sarah doubted God. Finally, in the fourth key encounter, God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. God tested Abraham to see if he would trust God in all circumstances.
What is holding you back from walking step by step with Jesus? In If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg suggests your ‘boat’ is that which most produces fear in you- especially when you think of leaving it behind and stepping out in faith. Your boat symbolizes whatever represents safety and security to you- apart from God.
Satan wants you to wander aimlessly in the wilderness. He’s content with the status quo. In contrast, Max Lucado (Glory Days) describes what happens when you leave your wilderness days behind:
“But now you are stepping into your Promised Land. Daring to walk in faith, not fear; leaning on grace, not guilt; hearing God’s voice more, the devil’s voice less.”
As John Ortberg encourages, you don’t need a feeling of certainty- “just enough faith to take a step.”