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The Most Important Step?

By Mark Moore

A little known fact about me, I love reading. A perfect day for me is rain on the rooftop, fire in the fireplace and a book in my hand. I will read just about anything, but to relax and unwind (don’t laugh) I prefer epic high-fantasy novels like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and other books of the same genre.

One of my favorite authors from this generation is Brandon Sanderson. he has a series of books called The Stormlight Archive. I’m not here to promote his books or writings, but throughout the series, one of the main characters, Dalinar, has some of the most profound insights and nuggets of wisdom. Here is one example that really spoke to me:

“The most important words a man can say are, ‘I will do better’. The journey is before the destination. Some may call it a simple platitude, but it is far more. A journey will have pain and failure. It is not only the steps forward that we must accept. It is the stumbles. The trials. The knowledge that we will fail. That we will hurt those around us. But if we stop, if we accept the person we are when we fall, the journey ends. That failure becomes our destination. To love the journey is to accept no such end. I have found, through painful experience, that the most important step a person can take is always the next one.”  Oathbringer, book three of The Stormlight Archive.

Overcoming failure, fear, insecurity, discouragement, grief and other things in our lives does not happen by simply waving some magical Christian wand, rather, it comes from not ignoring the little things. It comes in taking one step and then another. We will fail, we will get hurt and we will hurt others. These things are guarantees in life. What is NOT guaranteed is how we respond. Will we get up and take another step, make a decision to be better next time, or will we stay down and call an end to the journey? Will we accept the person we are when we’re at our lowest or will we decide that failure will NOT be our destination? Listen, I’m not suggesting that we have an innate ability within ourselves to go the distance, rather, I’m saying that a level of determination and commitment to the things of God brings a measure of favor that TAKES us the distance. That’s why the Apostle James, the brother of Jesus, says that if we will draw near to HIM, he will draw near to us! When two objects are moving towards each other, neither has to go the full distance.

The great thing for us is that God has longer legs and covers more ground. In fact, according to the story of the Prodigal Son, in which the father represents the Heavenly Father, He runs to us as soon as He sees us (and He is LOOKING for us constantly).

We CANNOT ignore the little things, the little steps of obedience and the little “nudges” of conscience. Those things are the litmus tests to discover what direction we are heading. If we are waiting on God to pour out His great favor on our lives but we are ignoring the seemingly small things that He is asking us to do, we will be waiting on His favor for a long time…a lifetime actually.

I agree with “Dalinar”, I, also, “have found, through painful experience, that the most important step a person can take is always the next one.”

Don’t let hardships, circumstances, disappointments, and any number of other forms of opposition take you out of the journey. Take the next step even though the last one might have been mind-numbingly painful. Eventually, you will get to your destination and you will find that He has been “stepping” with you every step of the way.