Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stepping Stones

Have you ever tried to cross a creek by jumping from stone to stone? I often go about this task rather gingerly (and not just because I am red-headed). Stones in a creek can be slippy, moss-covered, treacherous, and wobbly. Sometimes it is no easy task picking your way across such hazards; especially when you do not know which (if any) you will meet on your trek.

Life is rather like crossing an immense stream by stepping from rock to rock. It is hard to tell if you will have sure footing, if the shallow water rushing over a stone is perilous, or if you will find a solid place to pause. Sometimes one puts their foot out onto a stone, trusting their weight to it, only to find that it is weak and wriggling. When this happens to me I usually make a mad dash to find the next rock in the chain of stones. If the next stone is solid it is a good halting place to recover balance and nerve; but when the next step is also shaky, it can be a disastrous course. Sometimes I get wet.

Reality is like that... I trust my heart to something inordinately more than God (people, intellect, work, and on it goes) and I find that thing too weak to support me. Not because the thing is bad of itself, but because I rely on it disproportionately to trusting God. If I do not change my course and seek the solid rock of obedience to Jesus I end up getting wet. Sometimes just my 'shoes' are sopping and soggy; other times I am completely submerged in the rushing river coursing between the stones.

"I held it truth, with him who sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping stones
Of their dead selves to higher things."
~ Tennyson

My friend Andrew shared the above lines on his blog recently and it struck a chord inside of me. There are times when our course lies across a part of the stream where there are no stones we can reach. Unless the Creator Himself lays a path before us (which He does surprisingly often), He often gives us things to sacrifice to become the next step.

As the Israelites built altars of memorial stones when God did something great, we too, at times build memorials to God out of things offered or sacrificed to Him. We offer Him the root of bitterness, lust, lies, or some other brokenness needing to be consumed from our lives. We sacrifice the good things in our lives, seeking the best things. We offer praise and thanksgiving at all times, even in sorrow and suffering. These things are memorial stones to the testimony of the power, kindness, and goodness of God. It is with these stones that the Father paves our way before us. We step upon our dead selves, our dead past, to step closer to Him.

What stepping stones does the LORD desire to lay before you? What sacrifices can be made into altars of memorial? Will you let the Shepherd take your weakness, brokenness, and sin and turn them into a place of surrender and hope [confident expectation]? What part of you needs to be crucified and stepped upon to reach the next step in life?

Would you be so bold as to comment below with your answer to one (or all) of these questions? I will go first... Right now the LORD is working in me to be better disciplined with my time, especially in giving Him the first fruits/portion of the day... And He is reminding me not to fall into old habits where I waste mornings by sleeping in - which reminds me that I need to go to bed so I can rise to spend tomorrow with my dear friends from out of town. Goodnight all!

~ Johanna


  1. That was amazing! =)  

    I'll add more here when I have time to write!  (Dustin's schedule for us this week is kinda too full to allow for any free time =\ )

  2. I think this is the best blog post I have ever read. Wow.

  3. Thank you both. It is always humbling to me that folks take the time to read what the LORD lays on my heart. This post was truly from Him, as I was planning to blog about something completely different the day I wrote it...

    ~ Jody