“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I’m not sure if that is the exact quote, but you get the idea. You won’t get anywhere until you begin. Page 72 was a day that included a lot of steps — pretty much however you want to define step. 🙂 Saturdays can be difficult days for me to get started if I don’t have things that absolutely need to be done. While days of rest are good, and even necessary, at least for me they only really accomplish their purpose if they are intentional days of rest. To simply not do anything because I haven’t planned on doing anything often makes me more weary because I know what needs done and I wasn’t even intentional about actually getting rest while I wasn’t doing anything meaningful. For many of us, the most difficult step of the day can be getting out of bed and deciding that the day will have purpose.
With an event scheduled in the building during the day, I knew that I would be here at the church late tonight finishing up cleaning and prep for Sunday. Not only that, but somewhere between page 72 and page 73 an entire hour will come up missing! So, knowing those things, I wanted the day to be low-key and relaxing whether it ended up being restful or not. In the morning I spent time on the computer catching up on messages and organizing photos I had taken throughout the week. I took a break from that to get the wood pellet grill out and got it going to see what I could do with a beef roast on it. After about 8 hours on the low/smoke setting, I think it turned out pretty well. Once that was going, my family and I went to pick up some groceries and then out for lunch. MJ had a shower she was headed to in the afternoon, so Susan and I went to Potato Creek State Park where the day’s theme of “steps” really set in. Our first stop was at the area where I often see the Bald Eagles, but no such luck this time so I got Susan’s wheelchair out and we hit the trails. We ended up doing an almost 4 mile hike, which isn’t too bad for us if the terrain is not too wild. We started on a trail we have done often but then connected it with a portion of trail I have hiked before, but never pushing a wheelchair. I knew there was a section with a lot of wooden steps to get you through a major elevation change, but I had forgotten how much elevation change takes place on the trail in addition to those steps. I had planned it so we would be coming down the actual steps, but that really didn’t matter as I was pushing the chair up steep hills and holding it back as we came down the other side. We made it to the steps which overlook a swamp/wetland area and was able to sit and rest while enjoying the sounds of nature with a variety of birds and frogs joining together for a beautiful symphony. This was at about the mid-way point and the trail back to the truck from there was more gentle in its terrain.
When I got back home, and as I’ve worked at cleaning tonight, I thought about steps. I thought of the Proverb that says that we may plan our course but it is the Lord that directs our steps. I’m afraid that often we lose sight of the fact that God wants to be involved in the details of our daily walk. Even as Christians, we often think of God directing the “big picture” as we journey this earth toward heaven but we act like the choice of each step ought to be ours. Yet God wants it to be the other way around! We get to choose the “big picture” course when we decide if we will walk the path that leads to eternal life or the path that leads to destruction. When we decide the course of our life is to walk with God, then our steps are to be ordered according to His Word, not according to our flesh. It is only through complete surrender and submission to Christ that we can hope to attain to the goal of eternal life that we desire. The individual steps are important because the more steps we take on our own, the further we find ourselves from where the steps directed by God would have taken us. When I am out hiking, I set the course based on where I want to go and what I want to see but I find the hike is more enjoyable, and direct, if I allow the park map to direct my steps.
I pray that you and I would choose the only course that leads to eternal life. I pray that we would accept that the only way to stay on that course is to follow the directions God has for our daily steps. I pray that we would constantly keep the course objective in mind as we walk each day so that it would be obvious when we misstep or find ourselves on a path that leads somewhere else. I pray that a conscious decision to allow God to direct our steps would fill us with confidence and hope, especially when the steps seem difficult and unending.