My husband and I took a trip recently to visit our children and grandchildren. We left our home in Missouri, where the wind still blew cold, and ended our journey in a warm and balmy part of Texas.
We have made it a custom to take our little granddaughters-Ashley and Chantelle-to play in a park whenever we can. Since the weather was so nice, we took the girls to a nearby playground. They ran from one diversion to another until we discovered a fitness area with a balance beam that was only about two feet off the ground.
Ashley, who was 5 years old at the time, wanted to hold onto my arm and walk the beam. I explained to her that she needed her arms free so she could stretch them out for balance. I promised I would grasp the back of her shirt and catch her should she fall. But Ashley was afraid anyway and would not attempt the balance beam.
Stepping out in faith
The next day we revisited the playground. Again, Ashley wanted to walk the beam. I described for her how she could place one foot in front of the other while holding her hands out to steady herself. I held the back of her shirt and promised I would catch her if she began to fall. This time she trusted me and walked the length of the beam.
After a few days, when we returned home to Missouri, something happened that brought back my experience with Ashley and the balance beam.
I was wrestling with discouragement and loneliness-those emotions that get tangled up in our minds and keep us from moving forward. In the midst of my struggle, as I asked God to deliver me from the frame of mind holding me captive, the incident of the balance beam came back to mind. I found I had learned from it a lesson or two that helped me get past my problems.
I thought about Ashley and understood that she had to have faith in me to reach her goal. The balance beam unsettled her 5-year-old mind. But, by allowing herself to rest her hand on my arm, she could depend on herself to hold on if she started to fall. As she relied on me to catch her, I held onto her so gently she couldn't even feel my touch.
It might have seemed to her that she was alone, with nothing to support her, except she trusted her grandmother. Our relationship enabled her to turn loose and walk. She knew I had never harmed her. She knew I would do what I promised. She knew I loved her and wanted only good for her.
As Christians, we have this same connection with God. He is our Father. He loves us and promises to supply our every need.
One foot at a time
Ashley had to trust me, and then she had to do her part. She had to put one foot in front of the other. She had to hold her little arms out for balance and then take the steps that permitted her to grow in ability and confidence. She could do this because I was there, and I was worthy of her trust.
God is infinitely more trustworthy than I. Yet He wants all of us to learn the same lesson about Him that Ashley has learned about me.
God tells us that He will never leave us. Since He has made this solemn promise, we can trust Him as we put one foot in front of the other on whatever balance beam we are walking at the moment. We must not forget that at times He holds on so lightly that we may not even realize He is helping us. This is where our relationship with Him comes in.
If you have enjoyed an enduring relationship with God, you can call to remembrance His help in the past and trust Him to continue it. If you are just now developing dependence on your Father, go forward. He will prove faithful.
God wants us to listen to Him when He explains to us in the Bible how to put one foot in front of the other. He wants us to hold our arms out to Him in prayer for balance. Then He wants us to get on with our life, ever knowing that He is faithful. As we progress with our Father's help, we will come to recognize that, even though He may at times hold onto us lightly, He will never let go. GN