Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. [Matthew 6:34 (NLT)]
A few years ago, while skiing, I got lost during a snowstorm and ended up on a double-black diamond run. In knee-deep powder, I faced a narrow steep trail that was covered with ferocious-looking moguls. Looking down at the daunting terrain, tears filled my eyes. Picturing all that could go wrong, I wanted to quit but, unless I planned on staying there until the spring thaw, I had no option. If I wanted to get to the base, I had to get down that run and so I prayed for guidance. Words spoken by a ski instructor came to mind: “You can get down anything if you take it one turn at a time.” While I couldn’t picture doing the whole run, I could picture making just one turn and so I made that turn. Then I made another and another and got down that intimidating slope simply by taking one turn at a time.
I thought about taking life one turn at a time as I looked at the pile of boxes in our garage. How will we fit them all into the pod and cars, let alone unpack them at the other end? Even though I know the answer, the task is daunting. Nevertheless, I know it can be done—one prayer and one box at a time!
Sometimes, looking at the big picture is overwhelming and we end up conceding defeat without even trying. For example, we have friends who desperately want to down-size but, apprehensive about the enormity of the task, still remain in the house they want to leave! When they wonder how to get rid of all their furniture, shred years of old files, clean out every cupboard, pack up and move, my answer is to do it one chair, one stack of paper, one shelf, one trash bag, and one box at a time.
It’s not just moving that can seem overwhelming. “How will I ever get through the terrible twos?” cries the frustrated mother; she does it one temper tantrum at a time. “How will I ever get the Bible read?” asks the new Christian; he does it one page at a time. “How will I get through several months of chemo-therapy?” asks the patient; it’s done one session at a time. How do we climb to the top of a mountain, get through a lifetime of sobriety, face the loss of a spouse, or endure chronic pain? We do it one step, one day or even one hour at a time. As insurmountable as any challenge may seem, it is merely a succession of small manageable bits and pieces. How do we do it? We do it one prayer at a time.
As He did with manna for the Israelites, God will give us what we need for the moment and that’s all we really need. We don’t have to become anxious about finishing when what we need to do is just get started and, once started, move forward, a step at a time. We aren’t alone; He’s right there with us and, when we tire, we can rest in God’s presence until He strengthens and restores us enough to continue. Our progress may not be fast or graceful and there may be a few stumbles or setbacks along the way. Nevertheless, with faith in every step, it will get accomplished, whether it’s one turn or one box at a time.
If you’re running a 26-mile marathon, remember that every mile is run one step at a time. If you are writing a book, do it one page at a time. If you’re trying to master a new language, try it one word at a time. There are 365 days in the average year. Divide any project by 365 and you’ll find that no job is all that intimidating. [Charles R. Swindoll]
God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry. [Deuteronomy 31:8 (MSG)]
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