The First Steps

Small, faltering steps... No, we're not that far advanced at the manse yet (Caleb is only four months old), but every advance that is made with a little child is done tentatively, and with little skill or stamina.  Yet through perseverance and practice, things which are now nigh impossible will become second nature.  Not only walking, but use of hands and fingers, eating, and holding things will gradually become tasks handled with ease.

In fact, that is the way with all of us.  We learn new things with difficulty, but with time and effort find improvement we originally only dreamed about.  The trouble we all have is that we expect to be better than we are a lot sooner.  When you read some christian books, they seem to indicate that a better prayer life, devotional life, more meaningful bible study, or witness to friends and neighbours is really simple.  But when we try to live it out, we find hurdles which seem like mountains.

Nobody becomes a marathon runner overnight, or becomes a sprint champion without difficult training and perseverance.  It is the same in our walk as christians.  The apostle Paul used a sporting analogy to describe the discipline needed in 1 Cor 9:27.  "I buffet my body and make it my slave".  Great prayer lives don't just happen.  Effective witness is never easy, but always a matter of faith.  Deeper knowledge of God only comes with time and sacrifice.

All these things begin with small steps.  Five minutes in prayer today.  A simple offering of your faith to a neighbour.  Time wrestling with a difficult passage of scripture.  Small, faltering steps, but the beginning of a deeper journey with God. 

September 26, 1993

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