The Next Step

higher up

The trail was broad and steep and long. The sky was that crisp California blue I have grown to love. Spring was making herself known in cheerful patches of wildflowers, as warmly golden as the noon sunshine. And I was hiking with my grandma and two younger siblings. These youngsters, unabashed by the incline or the previous hours of hiking, gamboled up the trail like spring butterflies, enjoying nature and exercise with abandon. Grandma and I brought up the rear, our delight not quite as demonstrative and our steps not quite as sprightly. Comments along the lines of atrophied muscles and heaving lungs passed between us occasionally, as we unsuccessfully strove to keep the kids in sight.

My gaze turned upwards to calculate how much further we might be able to climb, and fatigue settled over my optimism like a lead curtain. I love nature walks…but I grew up at an elevation of scarcely a hundred feet above sea level, so mountain trails aren’t exactly my thing. Yet.

Then I found myself staring fixedly at the ground just in front of me. Somehow each step felt easier, my spirits lifted, and I began to believe I could make it as far as I needed to. I ignored the grueling stretch yet before me and focused on one step at a time.

And God shewed me something out there on that gravel path. He reminded me yet again that I don’t need to see every inch of my road winding to the horizon–just the step in front of me. My Lord knows what a worrier I am–He sees me stress over all the uncertain details of the next bend in the trail, all the looming decisions and choices that will define the rest of my life. I HATE unpredictabilities. Surprises. Unknowns. Kinks in the schedule. Because I don’t know what to be ready for, to prepare, so I won’t look like an idiot.

But I don’t need to see the whole picture, every twist and turn in God’s will for my future. If I were able to see it all, I know I would forget my faith in overwhelming waves of fear–I wouldn’t want to go on. I wouldn’t trust God’s wisdom. So He has to remind me to keep my eyes on the next step. Just to take that next step.

Photo by Libby


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