Monday, July 16, 2012

The Best Things are the Nearest

"The best things are the nearest: 
Breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of God just before you." 

This wonderful quote, from Robert Louis Stevenson, details exactly how I feel right now.  The "best" things in life are typically the "small" things, and those small things end up being the large things after all!  Those "small" moments are the ones you wish you'd taken pictures of, or enjoyed more thoroughly in the moment. 

I also love how this quote speaks of the path of God being "just before you."  Did you catch that?  Just before you.  You cannot see the path as it winds its way off into the distant horizon.  No.  You can only see that very next stepping stone, or maybe the next two, if you're lucky.  I'm starting to believe that we humans are only meant to see our very next step, so that we will not get complacent and begin trusting in our own means of saving ourselves, but continue to throw ourselves upon the Lord's trustworthiness and goodness, leaning on Him with each unsteady step ahead. 

God certainly has laid out a solid path for your life, but He typically only shows you the next step to take, and, tomorrow, after you've taken that step, He'll show you the next one after that.  And so it goes, day after day, step after step.  He leads us, guides us, and confirms our path. 

I think this method of only seeing one step ahead for your life's journey requires a strange mix of utter confidence in God, and total humility and brokenness on our part.  If we cannot see even two steps into our murky future, then we have to admit that we need God for EVERYTHING!  We need Him to place that next stone under our feet, we need Him to shed enough light on our stony path so that our feet will plant firmly and solidly upon it, and we need Him to give us strength and courage to stare out into the outer darkness looming before us, without fear.  We need God, a lot!

Additionally, we need to have utter and total confidence in God, that He keeps His promises, that He is indeed good and looking out for us, and that He has everything under control.  And, after that (perhaps the most difficult part of all this), we need to REST in that confidence, and try to live our daily lives, walking this precarious path, without worry, stress, doubt, or losing faith.  That is the real test of faith, is it not?  Putting our actions, beliefs, decisions, and confidences into daily-life action.  Give it to God, and then get over it!   

If we say we trust God, and determine to let Him guide us, then we must allow Him the freedom to lead us, wherever (and however!) He sees fit.  Just like you cannot give someone a gift and then immediately take it back, we cannot say with our mouths that we trust God and want to walk in His path, but then refuse to take that literal step of faith, letting Him guide us in His way. 

Trust, have confidence, ask God for His guidance, and then take that step

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