Several weeks ago, I introduced you to my nephew, Baby Bears. He’s pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen lots of cuteness. I did, after all, marry a man who planks in our living room and then cooks me the finest wings and greens I’ve ever tasted. If that isn’t cute, I’m not sure what is. Back to Baby B. He hit the 8-month mark a couple of weeks ago and he’s on the verge of crawling. Some babies crawl sooner, some later. It doesn’t matter to us. We just enjoy watching him explore his feet, his hands, the floor. Everything. He grunts in frustration when he loses his balance. But he doesn’t give up. I know he’d much rather bypass the whole crawling stage and just shoot for a marathon, but the crawling will be good for him. It’s a process. Crawl. Walk. Then run.
My nephew’s struggle through the process has served as a reminder of my walk with Christ.
The nerd/student in me wanted to dive into Christianity and ruin the curve for others. I wanted to know how to read my Bible (based on topics? people? themes? chronologically? NT first?), which translation and reference books to purchase, which supplementary books to read, which Bible studies to complete, which sermons to watch, and I wanted it all NOW. I felt so behind. There were teenagers who knew more about the Bible than I did. Being an ex-teacher, that just would not do! See, like Baby B, I wanted to run the marathon without crawling first.
It took some really good friends restraining me with zebra-print duct tape to realize that my journey with Christ isn’t a marathon or a Scantron test with a right answer. God doesn’t award “26.2” bumper stickers or grade on a curve.
So I learned to crawl with Christ. Frankly, I still have days when I crawl with Him, when I lose my balance and grunt in frustration. But see, He sits with me on the floor and says, Heather, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). He knows my legs are weak and it takes time to build walking-muscles. He is there behind me, beside me, ready to catch me if I fall, ready to encourage me to try again.
In order to stand, I grab something, anything to help me get my footing. I lean on people, the things of this world, myself for strength. When I do, I fall. Every single time. He smiles, like any Father would, and reminds me to lean on Him. Only on Him: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
So I stand, my Father at my side, and I beg Him: “Guide my steps by your Word, so I will not be overcome by evil” (Psalm 119:133). As I become confident in my walk with Him, He steps in front, carving out my path, shining His light so I won’t lose my way. 1 Peter 2:21 reminds us that, “God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.” Yes. This walk isn’t easy. I might have days, even months, of suffering. But Jesus shows me how to walk, and I must, as Colossians 2:6 states, “continue to follow Him.”
Someday, I will be ready to run. Someday, I will be “surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith” and will “strip off every weight that slows [me] down, especially the sin that so easily trips [me] up.” And I will run. Yes, I will “run with endurance the race God has set before [me]…by keeping [my] eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects [my] faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Crawl. Walk. Then run. That’s a process I can live with.