I used to sing this song as a kid (and I think I still have the recording) called Step by Step by Rich Mullins. The lyrics to the chorus are: “Oh God, You are my God and I will ever praise You. I will seek You in the morning and I will learn to walk in Your ways and step by step You’ll lead me and I will follow You all of my days.”
Yesterday something happened that made me understand a little bit more about how this is a journey. As a kid I would sing these words, but I didn’t understand them…what does it mean to be led step by step? However, there was one thing that I have understood since I made the decision at nine years old to follow Christ: that I would follow Him all of my days. And truly, that’s all I have ever needed to know.
It’s hard not knowing what’s going to happen, but the truth is, I have never known what’s going to happen. I think back to my time in Ecuador and we had some real surprises along the way; surprises that both thrilled us and devastated us. It’s amazing how quickly life can change in a moment, like before and after a lightning strike. I understand James so much more now when he says:
“Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’ Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.” –James 4:13-16
People have so many questions, and sometimes I think it would be easier to follow Christ down this windy twisted path if I didn’t have to answer to the whole world – and then I realize that I don’t have to answer to the whole world. I only have to answer to Christ. And there will be people – good people – who will not understand the decisions made along the way, because it’s not their journey. They don’t hear and see the things I do because it’s not their path to walk and it’s not their voice to follow. At the end of the day I must ask myself the question: am I being obedient to where Christ has led me right now? If the answer is “yes”, then I am perfectly placed and can rest in perfect peace. All other voices must cease to affect me.
Even in the fog, there is wonder filling every step. Even in times of great uncertainty, there is beauty to be found in each moment. When I realize that I was never supposed to know the outcome, I can rest in the process, because I know, love, and trust the One who walks with me along the way. He has promised to lead, and I know that He is good. And I suppose that is all I need to know.
Maybe you have found yourself in a time of uncertainty today. Maybe you are fighting off the voices of criticism all around you. Take heart; be encouraged! May these words bring you comfort and spur you on to follow Jesus.