Learning to Walk

"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:30-31

Have you ever watched a baby learning to walk? Their parents don’t scold them or become disappointed when they fall down. In fact, that would be ridiculous! Instead, parents are most concerned that their children learn what they need to learn, and will gently lift them up to try again, and again. If there is anything dangerous in their environment, parents will sometimes erect barriers to keep them from hurting themselves. After all, they are just learning; they cannot be expected to do it perfectly with their first step, and they can't be expected to have an adult’s awareness of the dangers in their surroundings. Falling is a natural part of their growth process; but it is hard for them to let go of the security of a stabilizing influence, whether it is a table or someone’s hand. They must learn to trust their parents’ urging to take those first steps; even if holding onto a handy table feels more secure, relying on it will slow them down in the long run.

I believe that is how God sees us in our spiritual growth. He is not surprised when we fail, neither is he disappointed when we fall. His greatest concern is that we learn what we need to know without being too badly hurt, and sometimes he puts obstacles in our way to prevent us from making a big mistake. Being omniscient means he already knows what we are going to do in any situation. So why would he ever allow us to be in a situation where he knows we are going to fail? Perhaps it is his way of teaching us to trust him.

Just as a child must learn to let go of the security of their parents’ hand before they learn to walk, Christians begin to walk more confidently with God by learning to “let go” of whatever it is that makes us feel secure. We must learn to trust him fully, even in situations where we cannot see what lies ahead. It is only in learning to trust him that we truly become free from the things in this life that hinder our growth.

So when you are praying that God will remove a roadblock, remember that he may have put it there for a reason. When you fall, trust that he will be there to lovingly restore you without condemnation. He understands why we make our mistakes, and he uses them as teaching tools to help us learn what is necessary for us to be successful in his mission for our lives. And when he asks you to let go of something you are holding onto, perhaps a little too tightly, know that he would never ask you to give up anything without having a really good reason. He wants us to have abundance in our lives, and will give us everything we need to be productive and effective, but it all starts with trusting him.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for loving us and walking with us step-by-step through each day. Thank you for patiently teaching us to walk with you and trust you. Help us, Lord, to listen and to be open to your instructions as we seek your truth. Your Word is the best textbook we have for learning to live the life you intended for us. Thank you, most of all, for your gentle, loving care over us. Help us to see you as our good Father, wise counselor, and our most trustworthy and reliable teacher. We love you and want more evidence of you in our lives. Help us to see you as the benevolent God you are and open our hearts to be filled with your awesome love, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Additional Scriptures:

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” Exodus 33:14

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