Most Christians don’t understand, and therefore they are unable to walk the walk of faith. I believe that this is merely due to the fact that they don’t fully comprehend the blessings of walking the walk of faith, which is accomplished primarily by doing so in the dark, taking tiny baby steps as they go.
It says that we should, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Proverbs 3:5–7). To me, this verse sums it up beautifully: we have no idea where we are going or what is up ahead, and because of this, we should not foolishly think we do. Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of Christians have a pattern and have fallen into the rut, which is simply to pray about a way they want to go, then when any door opens, they run through it, without taking His hand. Our HH wants to guide each of us— every baby step of the way!
It is certainly true, however, that there are those who know and abide in His Word, who have the advantage and often walk with great wisdom. The result is steps that appear more as running, no longer the baby steps that you or I might need to take. “I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; and if you run, you will not stumble” (Proverbs 4:11–12).
However exciting, even steps of wisdom cannot compare to taking the walk of your life, which means taking baby steps in the dark while He holds your hand and guides you. “Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 AMP). True, walking in the dark often feels scary, especially when you have not truly experienced the very nature of our Husband and His love—which will be totally and completely “perfect” because “perfect love casts out fear.” That's because, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love” (1 John 4:18 NLT).
So many Christians are honestly afraid to trust God with their future, even their day-to-day future, because they believe if they simply give their future to Him, He will ask them to do things that are too hard or something they wouldn’t like. This leads to missed opportunities, when each could have experienced the abundant life He died to give each of us. I am no exception. Even though I have lived an incredibly unbelievable life, I still tend to pull back when faced with walking boldly when He calls. Take for instance traveling around the world: I met and experienced things that no one could ever imagine, even I can’t believe I really lived it, and yet, when my new passport came, I cringed, thinking that He might call me to begin traveling again. We are all the same, aren’t we? We simply are fearful little sheep in desperate need of a loving and patient Shepherd.
Do you know that it is because of our fear, our trepidation and our hesitancy, that the Lord causes us to wait, on purpose? I have seen it time and again in my life and in the lives of my children (my own and my spiritual ones). So often the Lord will show us something, then He makes us wait for it (long past the time that we thought it should take). Only then will He open the door so that we do what comes naturally: pull back or bolt. “O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their strength every morning, our salvation also in the time of distress” (Isaiah 33:2). And “Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:31).
For the past few months, my son has been waiting for a new position, waiting as they complete the hiring process for his new job. The main reason for the wait was for him to see that it was God. Initially, he could see that it was God's plan, since they actually sought him for the position, and it's in the city where his fiancée lived, where he always wanted to live, but all too soon he began saying that he wasn't sure he even wanted the job.
It took God bringing him to a place of financial ruin for him to see that having a base salary, rather than waiting for clients to pay as he'd been doing, would be what a new marriage needed (not to mention long hours, often working through the night). Thankfully, the Lord gave me at least two opportunities to confirm these words of wisdom with my son (for the sake of his future wife), to confirm that His plan was accomplished—all due to the long, and very unusual, wait to hear he had gotten the position. [He is still in this position after 10 years.]
Each and every day, I see the Lord faithfully renewing my strength by causing me to wait for something. Even though having to wait for something is what our entire family is known for; nevertheless, waiting never comes easily, even when you are accustomed to it. It was just yesterday, more than a week from when my son left to get married, when I finally got to see any wedding pictures. I just wanted to see a picture of my son married. Honestly, though I have learned daily how to wait, waiting for just one picture was really tough. Though I could have emailed them to ask, or left a message on one of their cell phones, or done some other less-than-gracious attempt to get a picture that other parents might have done, I knew that the fact that it did not come had nothing to do with them—but everything to do with me. As I said, the Lord faithfully sees fit to continually renew my strength—because the Lord knows I need it. And believe it or not, so do you. Does that help you understand, just a bit better, why you have not heard from someone or about something or have not received something promised—long past when you should have heard or received it?
Baby steps in the dark are what I am trying to encourage my older children to take, especially the ones who are now married. When they ask for advice, I simply encourage them to ask the Lord what to do next. However, all of us want a full and expansive plan that looks well into the future. Unfortunately, if we really knew how it all worked out, no doubt it would cause many of us to run ahead, or, more than likely, to turn and run away! Honestly, if I had known even one percent of what was up ahead in my life over the past twenty years, I would have found my own way of escape—hardly an example of a wise woman who smiles at the future. Instead, I have learned that, like the story of the slow-moving tortoise and the fast-moving hare, the way to moving mountains is by slow and careful steps, as we ask, believe, and then move in the direction He is leading us, all while holding His hand during the process.
By the way, moving slowly is not my nature at all, just so that you understand that I do indeed understand how you feel. From the time I was young, my motto was that "I was a sprinter;" I was not "a long-distance runner." However, for this race of our life, we must have endurance, which is only available to those who are willing to wait. And then He asks us, as His bride, to take tiny baby steps through that dark, deep valley, all the while holding the hand of the Shepherd, who is also, for many of us, our beloved Husband.
My dear, if you are also facing life alone right now (without a husband or with a husband who does not believe), then you know that this walk of faith is especially disconcerting: uneasy and confusing, while leaving you feeling a bit dismayed. Nevertheless, “Give glory to the LORD your God, before He brings darkness and before your feet to stumble on the dusky mountains, and while you are hoping for light He makes it into deep darkness, and turns it into gloom” (Jeremiah 13:16). Thankfully your journey does not need to be gloomy, not if you keep your eyes looking into His face, as you take the next baby step.
“For You have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living” (Psalm 56:13). Because “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
The only way I will ever be able to move the mountain of debt, which I set out to do when I first started this book, is by taking each baby step, one-by-one. Nothing that you face now is insignificant, but each step is God-ordained. Had I not first tackled my taxes, I would not have known the power of remaining calm at all times—in order to move a mountain. Just two days ago, I did just the opposite, which proved how powerful and necessary this principle of remaining calm is to moving mountains.
We had a house full of guests for my son's wedding reception, and I served our guests a formal dinner with the help of my children. They were enjoying themselves, as we all love to do, now that the oppression in our home is gone after the divorce, and they were dancing on the dance floor, while I was trying to get the food served to our guests. Right after I called to them the second time, I found stress began to overwhelm me. As a result, for about ten or fifteen minutes, I lost my peace, and more importantly, my joy! No, I did not yell or anything. It's just that I had lost my usual “joyful bliss” (the constant overwhelming joy in my heart) that I have come to enjoy and savor. The lack of patience caused one problem after another, until I shook off the stress and regained the composure of walking peacefully in the spirit—then everything began to change almost magically: clearly supernaturally.
Not only had it affected my composure and joy, but the following day when I commented to my son, who had been in charge of grilling our food, on how wonderfully things had turned out, he commented with a half-hearted “yes.” Without realizing it, he had felt my stress, which had affected his own enjoyment during the event and his memory of it. This is another good lesson for us all: never underestimate how an interruption in our peaceful emotions can affect the people who we love the most.
Baby steps, for me, were as simple as learning to be “joyfully agreeable,” which I learned while I was married, then I used this same principle with my telephone company: agreeing that it was my fault and that the charges for the last three months (that were twice the usual amount) were no problem at all for me to pay. Without those tiny steps, I would not have seen how easily the spirit of non-resistance changes the entire spiritual energy in a conversation, for my good. Remaining peaceful is what led me to do the same thing the very next day, with the flying miles company, that finally led me to the right person at the airline, who had the authority to change the names on the tickets to Hawaii, that I spoke about in an earlier chapter.
Even the tiniest baby steps of not trying to fix the telephone bill weeks earlier paid off, because how to do it His way was fresh in my mind. He knew when I would really need to know how to deal with opposition—so He made me wait!
Though we all want to make progress and take great strides toward moving our mountains, the only way to move a mountain is to begin with one small baby step, nothing grand or of real importance. Aren’t we all still amazed, as were the apostles, when Jesus simply “spoke” to the storm to be still? He was not overwhelmed and stressed, but He remained calm, because He, above all, knew the truth and the power of doing things in accordance with the way God had created the universe. God’s way is not flashy in the technique, but the results are magnificent and awesome when manifested simply!
Remember, for instance, how He chose to heal the blind: once by spitting on the ground, then making a paste, which is not something too spectacular, until we witness the result. And even before Jesus came to earth, not dipping seven times in murky water would have meant that a man (Naaman) would have died from leprosy, instead of being able to walk away the way he did, whole and healed, due to the simplicity of Elijah’s instructions.
Just today, I was reminded of the significance of baby steps and waiting for His timing, when I felt like calling a furniture store which had promised to deliver a couple of pieces of furniture I purchased well over a week ago. Yet, my HH told me to wait, to be patient. So, now I know it's not about the "incompetent" furniture company but rather the means the Lord chose to use to train me even more—how to learn more about the blessings of waiting and the significance of it in relation to moving mountains. And again, today, I ended up speaking to my children a couple of times about situations in which, despite me being curious, I had not asked any details, and as a matter of fact, I had specifically told them not to tell me. Yet, in both of these instances, months later, the details were revealed that confirmed a direction that the Lord had called me to take. Do you also find this interesting?
How would I sum up this chapter, so that it teaches us, you and me, about the significance and importance of taking small and guided baby steps? It is this: nothing you do is unimportant, nothing. And doing it in the proper timing is also extremely important. This is only possible, as you and I know, from learning to wait, which in itself is a baby step.
Baby steps also have to be done blindly, with no guarantees. Our only guarantee is the One who has made us the promises: that mountains will be moved, when we come to the place of faith where we no longer doubt.
“But Jesus was matter-of-fact: ‘Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you'll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God’” (Matthew 21:21 MSG).