As I looked up the steep set of stairs my heart sank, I knew how much difficulty lay ahead. I had been invited to spend the weekend at the home of one of my mother’s best friends and “my” room I was at the top of the steepest set of stairs I had ever seen in my life, well, that’s what it felt like in the moment. In that moment I was also unsure of what to do next.
Multiple Sclerosis causes my legs to move better on some days than on others. Well this was one of the ‘other’ days, and I knew that getting to the top of the stairs was going to be a feat of epic proportions – perhaps even dangerous. Not wanting to disrupt the arrangements that had been made, I figured that I had three choices:
- I could tell my host that I couldn’t make it up the stairs and go back home.
- I could live on the first floor in her dining room for the weekend.
- I could hang on to the railing like there was no tomorrow and make my way up.
The first two options did not match up with my desire of not wanting to disrupt the weekend arrangements, so I knew what I would have to do. I whispered a prayer asking for the safety, strength, endurance and courage to make the climb and braced myself.
As I put my foot on the first step, something told me (heavenly whisper?) to look down at my feet instead of looking towards the top of the staircase. I took the step up and found it was easier than I thought it would have been and so I did it again; instead of looking up at the length of those frightening stairs, I glanced down at my feet and took the next step up. I continued to do so, until I got safely to the top. God answered my prayer.
In looking down at my feet I could only concentrate on one step at a time, it made the task more manageable, and by looking down, I was able to see how far I had come as opposed to how far I had left to go.
A few days later when I reflected on this experience, I couldn’t help but think of how life, at times, is like my precarious adventure up the stairs. Sometimes situations can seem insurmountable, as if we are at the bottom of an enormous mountain whose summit is the goal. Unfortunately, it is easy to become discouraged and decide that the task is impossible, will take too long, or we feel that we don’t have the tools to get us to the top. All too often, we give up before we have even begun. Instead of asking God for the tools, endurance and courage to make the climb, we settle in at the bottom of the mountain, and let our dreams and assignments go.
Sometimes our downfall is that we would much rather get to the top of the mountain right now, because we want to fit in and be accepted. At times, nothing else seems more important. Perhaps if we focused, not on what seems unattainable, but on what God has already blessed us with and helped us to accomplish; reaching the finish line would be easier than we thought possible. Perhaps if we didn’t put all of our focus on the summit, we would learn ultimately wonderful life affirming lessons during the journey.
As we get ready to begin a new year, I encourage you to take God’s hand as your guide. As you make your way through the year consult Him in your decisions, and cling to Him when tedious staircases and unmanageable mountains arise. When things seem impossible, look back on all He has already brought you through, and be encouraged! He will be right there with you for the rest of the journey!
…Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts. For who are you, O great mountain of human obstacles? … you shall become a plain, a mere molehill! Zechariah 4:6-7 Amplified