Small Steps That Lead to Great Understanding
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
BECAUSE THE PATH AHEAD SEEMS UNCERTAIN AND DIFFICULT, WE OFTEN FAIL TO TAKE THE STEPS THAT LIE CLEARLY BEFORE US. If we allow it to happen, doubt and difficulty can paralyze us. Not having found God already, and seeing no way out of our confusion, we neglect to seek Him at all. Our search for truth is stymied.
But the steps that we could take are the most important ones. Usually, it is small steps toward God, taken in trust, that lead to great understanding. Jesus spoke of the honest soul who “comes to the light” (John 3:21). Obviously, enlightenment must be sought, and the seeking can be arduous. But we do not “come to the light” by mere worry or fretfulness. More is involved than simply trying to figure things out intellectually.
Godly wisdom must be sought actively and obediently. If conscience can indicate only a step or two, then a great deal depends upon our taking those steps. What we don’t know must never prevent us from doing the duty we do know. We must use the light we already have — or cease to expect any more.
God graciously honors whatever steps we take in faith, even if those steps seem slight. Numerous biblical texts give us this confidence, such as “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7) and “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). God will see that we get the information we need to do the right thing, if doing the right thing is really what we intend.
Courage, much more than intelligence, is the key to great understanding in the things of God. The courageous not only think but act with integrity to what they already know. It is the honestly obedient who find the light they’re looking for, while the idly curious find only that the darkness grows more fearful. Active seekers are told: “If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). God is more than a disinterested witness to our quest. If our true purpose is to get back home, our Father will meet us much more than half way.
“Whoso draws nigh to God one step through doubtings dim, God will advance a mile in blazing light to him” (Angelus Silesius).