In order to win their souls "[God] relies on the troughs even more than the peaks;...He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles."
C.S.Lewis "The Screwtape Letters"
I dislike the troughs of life, don't you? The times of fervent prayer, of desire to do God's will no matter what, the zeal for early morning devotions eventually give way to dryness and valleys and spiritual emptiness. Even in the midst of mountaintop experiences there lives the faint knowledge that they can't last, mustn't last, if we are to learn and grow. How else would we share our radiance?
I have had times in my life, more in my thirties than my twenties, when I have felt God has let go of my hand. I flounder about, wobble a bit and fall over.
"Why did you let go?" I shout, "I need you!"
"I'm here," He says quietly from behind me, "but you must take a step on your own."
Again, I reach out and try to balance myself within the storms life throws at me, and again I stumble, disappointing myself; I'm certain God must be disappointed too. I look back to see his reaction, and He is smiling gently, forgivingly, as I push myself back up. I get strength from that smile. I know I'll fall yet again, but this time it doesn't feel quite so hopeless...
Zachary, our one-year-old, is learning to walk. He took his first tentative steps a month ago but still preferred to crawl or be carried. It took him a couple of weeks to decide to practice a bit more and this week has really caught on. A couple of days ago he spent twenty minutes taking steps around the room from me to the table, to the couch, to the window, to the chair and back to me. Each time he fell (which was quite often), instead of getting up where he was, he would put his head down, cry out in frustration, and crawl back to me before starting again.
I'm the place he wants to start from. He needs to have me at his back to begin, I thought as he crawled to me for the fifth time. To be that safe place for him showed me how God feels about my stumbles and mistakes.
He wants to be the origin of our every journey.
Yet how often do I start somewhere else? How often do I, the memory of a recent sin fresh in my mind, dust myself off and get back up without checking to see if He's at my back? For Zachary, it is second nature to begin at his source of confidence- me. Oh, how I want to see God as that source for me, not just in theory but in practice!
For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence.
Do you have sins you fall into on a regular basis? Do you have trouble believing God can forgive them yet again?
Are you frustrated by the times when it feels like God has let go of you? How have you grown in those times?
Christine can be found daily at her personal blog: