Step by Step

I had something happen to me last Fall which was both nerve racking and wonderful at the same time. It’s strange to say so, but it left me feeling like I wanted to experience it again and avoid it at all costs.

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I had decided to take some Master level courses from a university. That in itself is enough for another post, but suffice it to say, it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Started with three and was only able to finish two. Grades were OK, but my nerves were shot by the end of it, for different reasons.

Anyway, the course I was taking at the end was driven by paper. Writing, writing, writing. And most of the assignments weren’t too bad. But the last one looked like a pill. I wasn’t sure I understood exactly what to do for it, what the professor wanted, nor did I have a clue how to get started. And to top it off, by the time it came due, I was out of time. Only a week left.

In typical fashion, I worried about it all throughout the course while I was working on the other papers. Yes, I know, I was in direct violation of what the Scripture tells us to do. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6. Verse seven goes on to assure us the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds if we do this. Exactly what I needed, but I wasn’t doing it.

The last week arrived and all I knew to do at that point was to try and start. The paper itself was composed of multiple sections. I figured if I could get one or two sections written a day, I’d have enough time to finish and edit it before I had to turn it in. So, I started. . .  and that’s when the wonderful part started.

I picked a section and tried to work on it, but nothing was coming to mind. I just couldn’t get into the substance of it. Eventually I gave up and walked through the other sections and one started to come together. By the end of the evening I had completed it. It wasn’t in the order I wanted – I tend to do things sequentially, from beginning to end – but it was a completed section nonetheless.

The next evening, I did the same thing, try to start on one, but ended up being given the clarity to work on another. By the third day I was beginning to see a pattern. While I wanted to rush through and get as much done as possible in the shortest amount of time, God was only giving me enough to complete a single section a day at a time, but He was giving them to me. Every time I tried to work on another section apart from the one for the day, I would hit a wall. Nothing would come to me to write, and the information wouldn’t flow. I was given exactly what I needed for that day’s work and no more.

Something else happened as well. I began to have hope that I was going to be able to finish before the deadline. Seeing that I was given what I needed for each day made me realize I could complete everything when needed.

When the Israelites were in the wilderness after coming out of Egypt, God fed them with Manna each day. The rule was to gather only what you needed for the day, no more no less. And don’t let any of it sit overnight or it got disgusting really quickly. The point was to teach the people to trust God on a daily basis.

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Jesus even mentioned it when He gave His disciples the model prayer, the one we call the Lord’s Prayer. Give us this day our daily bread. Just what we need each day as we need it.

You see, we think we can trust God with big, major things in our lives, but we don’t trust Him with the day to day. Also, we like to be told about things ahead of time instead of trusting that He knows exactly what we need when we need it. While He will sometimes tell us about something before it happens, we don’t really need to know in most cases. We just need to trust Him. And that trust grows best on a day by day basis. And it builds hope as well, hope that turns into the realization that God does care for us and will do what He says.

As I said at the beginning, my experience was both wonderful and nerve racking. Wonderful in that I could see how God was giving me exactly what I needed exactly on time, and it felt great to trust Him that way. Nerve racking in that it was outside my comfort zone. I really had to do some stretching. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. The good news is that’s the way God wants us to live, trusting Him for the day to day. We can do it every day and, in the process, grow in our closeness, in our relationship to Him. That’s what it’s all about.

Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

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