“The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” Or so J.M. Barrie believed.
It’s easy to believe such folkloric notions about faith.
Who among us doesn’t like the idea of faith that soars on mountains tops rising above the mundane and trying details of life? I have watched eagles soar. Their flight is graceful, majestic, and effortless. Not at all like my faith.
After each crash and burn I am back praying for new wings. “Lord, have you not said that I ‘will soar on wings like eagles?’”
His replies comes, “Have I not also said that you ‘will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not faint?’ (Is. 40:31). Why do you ask for wings when I have already given you feet?”
So it is with me, this willingness to fly away to places for which I would refuse to journey by foot. To walk this journey of faith is so long a path, so treacherous a climb, so fraught with troubles. My feet get sore. My legs tire. My resolve blisters over. I want to fly first class.
Yet I can’t ignore the history of this one-step-at-a-time faith:
- It began in a garden, where two walked with One in the evening breeze.
- There are stories of how Methusaleh, Enoch and Noah walked faithfully with God.
- Of Abraham walking to the land of his inheritance.
- Of a wife refusing to walk forward and becoming no more.
- Of a Chosen People walking out of slavery, through a wilderness, and seven times around a soon-to-be city of conquest.
- There is the command to teach our children as we walk.
- There is Ruth and Naomi walking together toward hope.
- There is a small shepherd boy shuffling stones between his fingers as he courageously walks out to face a giant.
- There are prophets, priests, and kings who walk in the ways of the Lord…and others who walk away from him.
- See now, Joseph as he walks to Bethlehem, the city of promise.
- Note repentant feet walking into baptismal waters at the Jordan River.
- Do you see the Messiah? Walking on water. Calling the lame to walk away from their mats. Beckoning dead men to walk out of their graves. Walking step by step alive in the company of the misinformed mourners.
We are the people who walk. Step by step; no fancy two-step. Our faith does not take flight over and above the journey of life. It walks through it. Sometimes, bravely in the face of fear. Other times, enthusiastically with a clear vision of the destination. Always, one step at a time. We are of the people whose faith needs only feet, and a Shepherd.
Each year I ask the Lord to direct me to one passage on which I will meditate daily and allow Him to shape me by its words. 2012 was I Corinthians 13—I needed to be reminded of what is love. Now after a year, it seems everywhere I looked there He was again—Love.
This year I John 2:3-11 will be doing some daily work on my heart as my faith learns to keep walking. “This is how we know we are in Him: The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked” (I John 2:6).
There it is, the call for 2013: Walk. Nothing fancy or fanciful, like wings and feathers and such. Instead, just little steps of obedience in the right direction.
He goes before us. He goes with us. All we must do is walk, one step at a time. Will you join me?