“Does He not see my ways and number all my steps?” Job 31:4
So, after 29 years of ministry in South Boston, I walked down the front steps of our house for one of the last times. There are 16 steps, and if I figure I have gone up and down at least six times a day, a conservative estimate, that is over one million steps.
We don’t often realize that when we leave our abode for the events of the day that God is ready to impact us and the world during that time. So much can happen. God wants to show us the way, and sooner or later we will listen to him and be led by him as we walk the steps of life.
One thing to realize is that every day is different. Yes, we may have the same routines or vary them somewhat, but many of the words and actions of the day will be brand new to us and those around us.
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher born in 540 B.C. in the town of Ephesus, now in Turkey, said it this way over 2,500 years ago. “No man,” he wrote, “ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river, and he’s not the same man.”
One thing this may teach us is to go ahead and do the wonderful things God wants us today, because they may not be possible tomorrow. Some people we see today, we may never see again, but if we do, the dynamics will be different in just a little while.
Let us walk carefully and with wisdom. We should not put ourselves down and keep clear of the temptations and traps that might be there.
John Steinbeck made this observation. “Man is the only kind of varmint that sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it.”
Being alert to opportunities to share our faith and walk closely with God is a gift that he gives us for each and every step we take.
One of the best and most practical writings I have read over the years has been Charles Sheldon’s tiny book, “In His Steps.” He asked his church to take a pledge that changed the entire town.
“Our motto,” the preacher said, “will be, ‘What would Jesus do?’ Our aim will be to act just as He would if He was in our places, regardless of immediate results. In other words, we propose to follow Jesus’ steps as closely and as literally as we believe He taught His disciples to do. And those who volunteer to do this will pledge themselves for an entire year, beginning with today, so to act.”
What if the steps you took were indeed the steps of Jesus? What if you expected miracles? What if you truly loved everybody with the love of heaven? What if every step you took was truly guided by God?
We must take this life of faith, forgive me for the pun, one step at a time. We cannot know the future, but we can impact it. God has plans for us that will amaze us and others. We can only walk God’s way if we let him lead and trust him for everything.
An unknown writer put it this way. “God has a perfect plan for us. He never does it all at once, just step by step because he wants to teach us to ‘Walk by faith, not by sight.’”
I close by sharing with you one version of the Footprints Prayer. It can help us when we get discouraged, or when we need a little perspective at those times, we actually think we are in charge of our own steps.
The Footprints Prayer
One night I had a dream…
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you. “