We walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
A number of years ago I was with a group of men and we were seeking God for direction about a critical decision one of the guys had to make. Like most of us he wanted assurance from God that the path he was about to choose to walk would take him safely to where he wanted to go.
As we prayed a man in the group had a vision. The Lord showed him a deep chasm with a primitive rope suspension bridge linking the two sides. The man seeking direction was standing with great trepidation on one precipice poised to begin traversing the narrow bridge. The problem facing him was that there were no wooden slats in the walkway portion of the bridge except for the one slat immediately in front of him upon which to take his first step out over the edge. In the vision the man summoned all the faith he could and stepped onto the first slat. No sooner had he placed his full weight on that slat when immediately a second slat appeared in front of him. As he took a step onto that board and transferred his weight fully to it, another one appeared in front of that one. He was elated. But then he realized that with each step forward onto an appearing slat, the one behind him was disappearing as it fell away.
As sincere followers of Christ we are inspired by testimonies of people both in the bible and in real life who have proven His faithfulness through stepping out by faith into uncharted territory. Abraham, whom the bible calls the father of our faith, went out in obedience to God “even though he did know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8) We aspire to the idea of having a similar implicit trust in Him that will empower us to walk by faith through the narrow passages in our lives. The problem is, as with the traveler in the vision, walking by faith is scary. It defies reason and there is no visible path beyond the first step.
Spanish poet Antonio Machado writing nearly one hundred years ago described the walk of faith as well as anyone. “Traveler, there is no path. The path is made by walking.” We want to walk by faith, but we also want a path. We say to God. “Lord, show me the path and then I will trust you.” But God says to us. “Son, daughter, first trust Me and then I will show you the beginning of the path.”
Living a life of faith and trust requires taking a step without a path. Paths of faith are made by walking. Where they ultimately lead us are left wholly up to God. Our job is to walk. God’s job is to make it a path.
There are actually verses in the Bible that specifically and logically outline four basic “steps” to walking by faith – Proverbs 3:5-6. (1) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” and (2) “lean not on your own understanding; (3) “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and” wonder of wonders – (4) “He shall direct your paths.”
There you have it. First you must trust Him. You don’t need to understand it or have it all figured out. Acknowledge Him through prayer and dependence. And then, little by little, He will cause the path to appear before you.
Is there an area in your life where you have been hesitating to step out in faith because you have wanted the whole path to be laid out before you? Are you waiting for understanding before you make a move? Consider, perhaps God is waiting for you to make a move before He gives you understanding? Remember, “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) Traveler there is no path. The path is made by walking.
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