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Just Enough Light for the Step I'm on: Trusting God in the Tough Times
by Stormie Omartian
Learn More | Meet Stormie Omartian
Learning to Walk
Life is a walk. Each day we take steps. Our tomorrow is determined by the steps we take today.
When both of my children learned to walk, they didn’t get very far without falling. They fared much better if they reached up and took my hand. Or their father’s hand. We were able to guide them away from danger and get them safely where they needed to go. But sometimes they quickly headed off without our help. My son would end up falling down and hurting himself, or my daughter would wander off to someplace she wasn’t supposed to go and get into trouble. Occasionally we allowed those things to happen because we wanted them to eventually learn to walk without our assistance. Of course, we did step in and protect them when we saw danger. But our goal was always to prepare them for the day when they would no longer need our help. And we were thrilled when we saw them experience that joy of freedom for the first time.
Learning to walk with our Heavenly Father is somewhat different. He wants us to reach up and take His hand, but He doesn’t want us to ever let go. In fact, His desire is that we become more and more dependent upon Him for every step. That’s because He wants to take us to places we’ve never been. To heights we can’t even imagine. In order to do that, we have to go through the low valleys, treacherous mountains, rough terrain, and narrow paths of life—places where we could easily get lost or off the track. And there is definitely no way we can just head off on our own and expect to arrive safely in the place He has planned for us. And, quite opposite of the way we teach our children, we will never know the joy of true freedom until we understand we cannot take a single step without His help.
But it’s up to us to take the first step. If we don’t, we will never learn to walk with Him. We can be so afraid of taking a wrong step that we fail to take any step at all. God didn’t part the waters of the Jordan River for the Israelites until they first put their feet in the water (Joshua 3:15-16). That’s because God always requires the first step to be ours. In order to take that first step, we must look into the face of God, reach up to take His hand, and say, “Lead me in the path You have for me, Lord. From this day on I want to walk with You. I take this step of faith and I trust You to meet me here. Align my heart with Yours.”
Once you’ve taken that first step, God will show you other steps to take. He will teach you how to walk in the light of His truth, revelation, and love. You’ll discover ways to avoid the things that separate you from Him and all He has for you. You’ll learn to walk away from fear, depression, condemnation, loneliness, loss, unforgiveness, and disappointment. You’ll understand what it means to walk through the dark times of your life with the comfort of His presence as your only light.
I know what it’s like to walk without His light. In my teens and twenties, I wandered around in a confusion of drugs, alcohol, occult practices, eastern religions, and unhealthy relationships, trying to find an escape from the emotional pain I endured daily. I was desperately struggling to live, but was moving closer to death with every decision I made and step I took. I experienced it all, but nothing worked and I became desperate. As I carefully planned my suicide, I knew I didn’t really want to die. But I couldn’t live with the pain anymore, and I had no other way to stop it.
When a close friend saw my hopelessness and took me to meet her pastor, I found what I had been searching for all along. Pastor Jack Hayford showed me that I had been crying out for love, acceptance, purpose, fulfillment, peace, and joy, and that these things could only be found in one place. When I prayed, “Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive me for not living Your way and lead me on the path You have for me,” I knew I had found that place. It was at His feet. I felt hope for the very first time. It was the initial and pivotal step on a journey that would transform my life.
No matter how far away from God you’ve gone, when you surrender your life to the Lord, a path is carved from where you are to where you are supposed to be, and He puts you on it.
This is the miracle of His power. If the path you’ve been on is crooked, He will make it straight. If you are headed in the wrong direction, He will turn you around. If you have come to a standstill, He will get you moving. If you are going around in circles, He will correct your course and cause you to arrive at your destination. The simple act of giving your life to Him will immediately put you on the correct path and aim you in the right direction.
As you take one step at a time, holding God’s hand and letting Him lead, He will get you where you need to go.
The moment I made that decision, I felt a major coursecorrection happen. I didn’t know where I was headed, but I saw a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of my life and I started going toward it, away from the life I had known. Away from the ungodly friends, the destructive habits, the self-promotion. Away from hopelessness, depression, and futility. The road was not smooth and I fell a number of times, not because God let go of me, but because I let go of Him. But every time I reached out for His hand, He was always there to help me get back up and on the path again.
I have now been walking with the Lord for decades. When I look back, I see that I was a different person then and living a whole other life. I know that I would never want to return to the way things were. Yet I occasionally find myself reverting to the old habit of trying to do things my own way. I sometimes forget that I need to depend on Him for every step.
Pastor Jack told me a story of a man who prayed, “Lord, I haven’t done anything wrong today. I have not made any mistakes, spoken any wrong words, or thought any bad thoughts. I’ve done everything right so far. But I’m really going to be depending on You now, Lord, because I’m about to get out of bed.”
Haven’t we all felt like that sometimes? But that’s the way God wants us to feel. He doesn’t want us to just depend on Him as a last resort when we have a medical emergency or a financial crisis. He wants us to depend on Him for every breath we take. And, quite opposite of the way it may seem, that kind of dependent life is not stifling. It’s liberating!
Learning to walk with God is a process. And just when we think we have it all figured out, God leads us into a new place where our old tricks won’t work. In fact, it may seem like we’re learning how to walk all over again. And in a way we are. We enter unfamiliar territory and are soon reminded that, on our own, we stumble. Yet when we take His hand, we fly. God wants us to soar far above the limitations of our lives and ourselves. He wants to take us to a place we have never been before and can’t get to from where we are without His help.
When God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, they had to learn to depend on the Lord for every step of their journey to the Promised Land. When they did not do that, they got into trouble. It’s the same for us today. God moves us out on a path to someplace we’ve never been before, and we believe we’re failing if we have to depend on Him to get there. We try to make it on our own because we think that dependency is a sign of weakness, instead of understanding that it signals our willingness to allow God to be strong in us.
If you are at a place in your life where you feel like you can’t take one step without the Lord’s help, be glad. He has you where He wants you. If you’re wondering, “Have I done something wrong?” the answer is most likely, “No, you’ve done something right.” God has you on this path, no matter how difficult and impossible it may seem right now, because you are willing to follow Him. He wants to accomplish great things through you that can only come out of a life of faith. He wants your undivided attention because you can’t do these things on your own. The path is not a punishment; it’s a privilege. It’s not a restriction; it’s a reward.
God loves us so much that He allows us to get into difficult places in our lives so we will realize how dependent upon Him we must be.
If you have been walking with God for some time and you suddenly feel like your life has come to a halt, don’t be alarmed. Most likely, God is adjusting your way. Having God correct your course doesn’t necessarily mean the one you were on was incorrect. But it does mean that something needs to change to get you headed in the direction God wants to take you. And it doesn’t matter how young or old you are. As long as you are breathing, God will have new paths for you to take and exciting things for you to do. It’s best to trust His leading and get on with it. This is what a walk of faith is all about.
Abraham was walking by faith when God led him out of all that was familiar to him to a place he had never been. He knew God had called him from where he was, but he didn’t know where God was leading. And Abraham’s is one of the greatest stories in the Bible in regard to walking in faith: “He went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).
How often have we felt like that? We go out because God is leading us, but we don’t really know where we’re headed.
Pastor Jack Hayford says, “It’s a more certain proposition to follow the Lord, not knowing where you’re going, than to think you know where you’re going and you’re not following the Lord.”
You might want to read the above quote several more times. It will be a great comfort to you on those days when you wonder if you’re actually going anywhere. Don’t worry, we’ve all had them. Abraham had them. Moses had them. Noah had them. All great godly people in history have had them. God doesn’t often reveal the details of where He’s taking you because He wants you to trust Him for every step. He wants you to pray and listen to Him directing your path for this day, this week, this season, this year, and this time.
When you hear God telling you to move in a certain direction, let me give you two words of advice: Do it! Refusing to walk according to God’s leading will get you nowhere. Oh, you will arrive someplace all right, but if it is not where God wants to bless you, it will still be nowhere.
It doesn’t matter what your situation is at this moment. Wherever you are, God has a path for you that is filled with good things. Draw close to Him and you’ll find it. Say, “Show me the way in which I should walk and the thing I should do” (Jeremiah 42:3). He will do that and, if you carefully follow as He guides you, He will not let you get off the path. With each step He will reveal more of Himself. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). So reach up right now and take God’s hand. He promises He won’t let you fall.
- Father God, I don’t want to take one
step without You. I reach up for Your
hand and ask that You lead me in
Your way. Thank You that no matter where I am
right now, even if I have gotten way off course, in this
moment as I put my hand in Yours, You will make a
path from where I am to where I need to be. And You
will lead me on it. I love that Your grace abounds to
me in that way. Keep me on the path You have for me
and take me where You want me to go. “Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my
soul to You” (Psalm 143:8). I know that when I try to
run the race without You, I get off course. So I
commit this day to walk Your way. Thank You that
even if I become weak and stumble, You will help
me to rise again and continue on. And though I
can’t see exactly where I am going, I’m certain that
You can and will enable me to get to where I need to
be. Thank You, Lord, that You are teaching me how
to walk in total dependence upon You, for I know
therein lies my greatest blessing.
O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
- Jeremiah 10:23
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
- Psalm 16:11
A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
- Proverbs 16:9
The steps of a good man are
ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
- Psalm 37:23
Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.
- Micah 4:2
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