My daughter is learning how to walk. A couple weeks ago, she took 3 steps and then fell forward into my arms. This past week, she started to walk across the family room in a line, sitting down when she got to the point where straight ahead was neither an option nor the desired direction. Yesterday, she started to veer a little, not pivoting or turning, but slowly gaining more options. I am sure in about a week she will be walking all over the house and giggling at every turn.
Of course, this process isn’t without its stumbles and falls. Sometimes, after a few steps there is a pause and a wobble as she regains her balance. Sometimes, she stumbles a little and falls; often times, the fall is a choice, as it is easier for her to control her landing position as opposed to trying to remain upright and risk toppling over in a less desirable position. Learning to walk is a process, and it comes with its share of whoopsies and uh-ohs.
The process brought to mind an old DC Talk song “What if I Stumble”. This refrain is repeated often:
What if I stumble?
What if I fall?
What if I lose my step
And I make fools of us all?
In reality, it’s not “what if” but “when” I stumble. We all fall in our Christian walk. None of us are perfect this side of Heaven; we all fail at some point. The Good News is that God put a plan in place for that, and our sins are forgiven through Jesus. We don’t need to shy away from walking with God because we might stumble and fall, He knows we will and loves us just the same.
If my daughter refused to get up on her feet, let go of the couch and try and walk across the room; she would never learn to walk. If she let the possibility, the inevitability, of stumbling and falling keep her from taking the first step, she would be denying herself the freedom that comes with walking, as well as the joys of running, skipping and all the other skills we learn after we master walking.
The same principle applies to the Christian walk. First, we need to start the walk, admit that we need Jesus and take the first step. Then, we need to keep walking with Him, step after step, trying new things, taking new risks for God, and not being scared to stumble and fall – because much like a loving father on Earth who scoops up his little girl, gives her a hug and stands her back up, God is doing that with us, because He wants to see us free to risk it all for Him. Because the more we step out for God, the more glory He gets.