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You’ve Got to Step In

Joshua 3-4

Several years ago I purchased a mug for my much required coffee fix during those long podcast recording days that has become an Ebenezer Stone of sorts in my life. It had a simple message that I knew I could use as a regular reminder, “One Step at a Time”. As an overplanning, overthinking person, this mug represented a true spiritual struggle. How do we follow in faith when we feel like we can’t see the way? Maybe the Lord gave you an extremely detailed road map for your journey but He has wisely chosen not to do that with me. If I thought I knew the way I would try to take control, I would worry about detours and I’d be stressed over the timeframe. So, God in His infinite wisdom gives me about one set of directions to follow at a time while learning to trust that He has a promise and a plan. 

In the book of Joshua, we see the Israelites waiting to finally enter the Promised Land after 40 years. All they had to do was cross the Jordan River into their long awaited home. Of course there were enemy nations waiting there and the river was in a flood stage but I’m sure that didn’t worry anyone. Actually, human nature says there was probably a fair bit of concern but the Israelites had seen the Lord do a lot in the last 4 decades and while they had not always acted faithfully, this moment would see them stepping out, quite literally, in the faith they had been building. 

Here’s the thing that I used to skip over when reading this passage… While the Lord promised to dry up the river just as He had done the Red Sea, they had to act in faith to see it. Outside of two people, no one else was alive to witness the Red Sea moment, it was the legacy of their parents and grandparents so that alone was requiring faith but even more so was the fact that this time they had to trust the Lord would uphold His end of the bargain. There would be no wind to draw back the water and create a clear pathway, rather they had to step into the river for the water to retreat. Remember, this is a flooding river which according to historical records would have made it 100 feet across and 10 feet deep. They wouldn’t see their deliverance until they took the first step believing that the second step would be there as well.

One step at a time. I think that’s how our faith often grows. I am currently looking at a challenge that feels as overwhelming as a flooding river. I’ve tried to figure out every possible pathway through it, over it or around it without getting wet and I’ve come up with nothing. I’ve been given a “first step” but I haven’t wanted to take it because it seems disastrous and scary, especially because I can’t see any pathway to the other side. However, I have seen enough of the Lord’s faithfulness in my nearly four decades to know that if He has told me to move, I can do so with confidence. Does that mean I’m not filled with questions or concerns? Of course not, but it does mean that those things don’t hold the same reality as the plans of my Creator God who is authoring every step I take even if I can only take one step at a time. 


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