When facing a life journey, big or small, praying for God’s help as you take one step at a time will make all the difference.

The mountain climber 

alaska 131I can say with all sincerity that I have few actual heroes.  There are just a handful of men who have had a profound impact on my life.  Many have spoken into my life, but only a few have made a lasting impression.  One of those men is Don Owens.  I list Don as one of my heroes because he lives his life like I want to live mine: filled with adventure.  Of the men I have met over my forty-eight years, Don is the one who has embodied “Wild At Heart”.

Don has been around the world and had adventures that most guys dream about.  He has ran with the bulls in Pamplona, soaked in the hot springs of Iceland, and is a member of the “14-er’s” club.  Yeah, I didn’t know what that meant either until I read what Don wrote about it on a social media site.

People who do “14-er’s” are those adventuresome individuals who hike up mountain peaks that are at least 14,000 feet in elevation.  The first time I read about Don’s adventure up a 14,000 peak, I thought he was crazy.  Why would anyone do that?  Now I know why: for the adventure.

The other question that really kept me pondering was “how do you do that?”  How do you get up the mountain and get that high up?  I figured it out.

Would I ever do anything physical again?            

A little over a year ago in April of 2015 I had my gall bladder removed.  My diseased gall bladder had me believing I was having heart attacks.  I thought I was so out of shape that I would never be able to do anything physical ever again.  A year after my surgery my wife and I hiked up the side of a mountain in Colorado.  Mind you, we didn’t go up 14,000 feet, but we were at a high elevation.  The highest I had ever been at that time.  I believe we were somewhere around 7,000 feet.  At the beginning of July of this year we went to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky for a family vacation stop.  We set out on a trail through the park to enjoy the wonderful evening weather and see all of the creation God had placed in the park.

As I started out on the trail I wound up in the back of our family carrying the backpack laden with snacks and drinks.  I watched my wife and kids go on ahead and start to point out things on the trail.  God pointed something out to me.

The rhythm of walking

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As a percussionist down to my very core, my life involves a lot of rhythm.  Walking is a rhythm for me.  I walk to a beat or a metronome in my head.  My pace varies with where I am going or what the task is related to the walking.  If on an evening walk with my wife, its a little more fast- paced to burn more calories.  If strolling through the mall or down the main street of Targu Mures, Romania, my pace is slower to enjoy the surroundings and take in the scenery.  I discovered about myself that on a trail I tend to set an even pace; not too fast, not too slow.  Measured, even steps so that I don’t go too fast or too slow, but I am at a pace that will get me to my desired destination at the end of the trail, or up the side of the mountain without blowing through all of my energy.  One step at a time.  There it was!  Walking along this serene trail I uncovered Don’s secret to making it up to 14,000 feet: one step at a time.

Making it through life one step at a time

My friend…dear reader…beloved by God…this is how we make it through life.  One step at a time; walking with God.

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.” (Psalm 37:23 NIV)

“I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.” (Psalm 119:59, NIV)

“Righteousness goes before him and prepares the ways for his steps.” (Psalm 85:13, NIV)

Whether climbing the mountain or walking along the marked path through a forest, we get to the top of the mountain or the end of the trail one step at a time.

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV)   The concept is the same.  To win a race, you must successfully put one foot in front of the other, and the fastest runner does not always win.  The runner who paces himself throughout the race will win.

One step at a time.

I’m not in the same physical shape as Don.  I can’t go out this weekend and follow Don up the side of a 14,000 foot mountain and summit the peak.  I can prepare, get in shape, and when I do go with him I will follow him up to the summit…one step at a time.

Are some steps harder than others?  Yes.  We sometimes run out of strength.  “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)   Don’t give up.  Don’t give in.  Take one more step and then another and then another.  Keep going.  Your Father will be with you every step of the way.

Prayer for strength for each step

“Father, I come to you now asking that you give me the strength for one more step, and one more after that, and one more after that.  Keep me connected to you by your Spirit because you are the vine that gives us life, and everything we need comes from you.  Whether I am climbing a mountain, walking along a trail, or pushing through one of the storms of life, guide my steps.  Let “your word be a lamp for my feet and a light on my path”, (Psalm 119:105) so that I can follow you all the days of my life.  In the name of your risen Son, Jesus, amen.

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Copyright David Shelton 2016.  All rights reserved.