Monday, October 16, 2006

Marbles and Toes

My daughter broke her ankle five hours after arriving on her university campus to begin her final year of college. This is after being out of school for a year and a half and signing up for a massive load of difficult courses in order to finish by June. I dropped her off and five hours later, already in between flights home, I was talking to her on a cell phone and she was hysterical with pain on her way to the hospital.

A few months later she had permanent pins and a plate for an ankle, she was wired to set off metal detector alarms in airports for the rest of her life. I remember she told me how excited she was to get her first instructions in physical therapy. Being the physical person that she is, she was envisioning bulking up on special exercising machines, starting major work on building back her leg and ankle. The therapy she was all excited about turned out to be picking up marbles with her toes. “And guess what?” she told me, “I can’t do it yet.” For someone of limited patience like my daughter, this was going to be quite a test.

Spiritual growth is a lot like physical therapy. Faith needs to be exercised in order to grow, and sometimes it seems we can’t even pick up marbles with our fingers, much less our toes. But the more we work at it, the stronger we become. Faith is like a muscle; nourish it and exercise it, and it will grow. Each time you step out in faith, it becomes easier to step into greater things. You believe God more because of what he has done for you in the past. Each new step creates more confidence.

Just keep in mind, however, that spiritual supermen don’t exist. The minute you get strong in one area, God shows you something else for which you need to trust him. And Galatians 6:1 reminds us that even the strongest are not exempt from a fall. So this applies to everyone, new believer to old: Faith needs to be exercised to be healthy. Somewhere in your life and mine, we’re just learning to pick up marbles with our toes.

What is your next step of faith? Mine is not running away from problems I can’t solve, but learning to face them and trust God to help me find the answers as I do. Tell you what: I’ll pray for you in regards to your next step of faith if you’ll pray for me.

--By John Fischer

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