Originally published Monday, 09 December 2013.
She wonders a lot about the next steps. She waits with uncertainty, heart beating fast, searching. She thinks she wants what's in front of her . . but she isn't sure. How can she know if she desires what is around the corner, around the bend, if she can't see it? How can she trust and say 'yes' to steps ahead--walking forward, without trepidation, without hesitation, into a place she's never been?
If only she could see further, beyond the place where her feet land.
"Take steps where you can no longer see."
Where is this road going anyway?
Her feet stretch out timidly, shoulders hunched over, eyes focused at the ground. Each step forward, she must focus: what's ahead? What rocks line the path? What ruts might cause her ankle to turn, her toes to stumble? She will keep going forward, for a bit, at least. But she is nervous, weary. She is not sure how much longer she can keep walking.
It might be best to pause.
If she knew what was ahead, surely she would not wait. If she knew what was required of her, what the next steps would be, when she arrived at the destination, then no doubt she would walk stronger, with confidence, with head held high.
But what is next? What does the day ahead look like? What if she doesn't want to move ahead? What if she doesn't want to trust? For after all, what if she moves forward and things are worse then they are now? What if she doesn't have what it takes to do the thing God has for her, up ahead?
"You can stay in the same place, if you want to. You don’t have to trust Me. You don’t have to let Me in. You can hear my voice here and still hesitate, unsure what loving Me, what trusting Me, will require. You can let fear and uncertainty be your guide, and not my voice, my greatest desire for your good, my richest love for you."
And the weight feels too heavy, her feet stumbling. She can no longer walk, finding a place to sit, to lay down, to rest off this uncertain path.
"I usher you into My presence. I come, to overwhelm you, all your senses, all your memories. I am bigger than your greatest fear. I am bigger than your greatest hope."
She hears His voice, His whispers--the words of a Father to a daughter. He is on this road with her. She is not alone. He is on this road. And she thinks this helps a bit. He is with her.
"Reach your hand out now, for I long to grab yours and hold tight. Lift those shoulders now; let me take that burden you carry.
Can you see me taking it? Can you see my hands upon your shoulders, the weight being lifted off? Can you feel shackles being cut? Can you feel the things you can’t, with your eyes, see?"
She can see. She can see the path. She can see. Just enough. She can see her Savior's hand.
She can see.
She can see His hand, His feet, His steps next to hers. She can see Him--and she trusts in what He sees.
On His path, Jesus saw up ahead. He saw the future; He knew what sacrifice and surrender and trust in His Father would look like. And He cried blood. He saw up ahead and the knowing didn't make it easier. Not that what is ahead is always hard, but knowing what is coming still requires faith to go forward; it still requires willingness to believe in the love of a Father.
Her Savior knew what was coming, farther down the path than what she can ever see for her own life, and still, He kept His eyes on His Father. He could see farther up ahead and still it was only the eyes of His Father on Him that kept Him going, that let His eyes focus, that gave Him courage to continue to want to see.
Seeing and trusting are not the same thing. We are given the gift of seeing the eyes of our Father, His heart for us, His delight in us, His feet in step next to ours. And that, and nothing else, is all we need. It was all Jesus chose. He could see more, far into the future. He knew what was coming. And still, it was His Father's hand He sought for strength, for comfort, for the path so He could keep on taking the next step, and nothing else.
"Just follow Me, my daughter. I know this road, this one marked out for you. You have choices about where to go, whether to turn right or to turn left. But ask Me where I am. And trust I give you recognition for the One who made you, for the One who designed your heart, for the One who knows His daughter and the details of the road, for her, ahead."
And oh, we have a choice. We have a choice whether to give in to fear and stay in the same place, crouched in a ball. We can surely stay on the side of the road, ignoring our Father's invitation for us to walk on, with Him, by our side. Or we can straighten tall, taking one step, just one step now, at a time. We can trust where our feet fall, even if we can't see far ahead. We can believe it will be okay . . . for He sees ahead. He sees where we can't see.
And we can see Him.
We keep our eyes on Him, and we know who we are. We keep our eyes on Him, and we no longer respond to fear, but the beauty we know is ours, to claim, up ahead. We keep our eyes on Him, and we can go forward into new ground--even in our waiting, even in our pain, even in the most horrible situation we are going through right now. We keep our eyes on Him, and He strengthens and rescues and we have strength to let ourselves be rescued. And we have courage to go forward and rescue others, who are stuck, by the side of the road, afraid to move, too.
"I created you with strength within you. I created you with beauty tangible. I created you with goodness and love pouring into you to pour out.
You are no small thing, while a wisp of breath. You inhabit my glory. You inhabit Me, and I inhabit you. This--the place we inhabit together--is the place where you can move around, feel freedom, breathe in joy and let my light, for others, shine.
I made you to be humble, but not meek. I created you to walk with lifted head, proclaiming my name, showing this world you are loved. For the reality of being loved and known and made and wanted and perfected in faith is what allows you to go forward, grasping hold of my hand, pulling other daughters out of darkness, too.
Are you coming?"
Friends, I know what is feels like to be that daughter, cowering, head down, shivering, frozen with indecision and fear, on the side of a twisting, uncertain road. I know what it feels like to be wounded and afraid and hopeless. I know what it feels like to feel worthless and unloved and undeserving and stuck. But, you know what else I know? . . . My burdens are not what are most true about me . . . Your burdens are not what are most true about you.
Move from this place, sister. Move from the side of the road. This is not the place for you. You are made to move with freedom and passion and joy. One step. One step at a time.
Keep your eyes clear now. I pray you keep your eyes focused on only one thing. Your Father. His hands in yours, the ones scarred and beautiful and grasping hold tight.
Oh, girl, He's got you.
He's not letting go.
Don't stay here.
Hear Him say it again, His hand reaching out, His eyes of love on you, eyes wet with tears.
"Are you coming?"
Where are you on the road? What next step do you feel Him asking you to take, with Him? Do you believe He is there with you, on the road? What is your prayer, as you walk, sister, step by step?
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