I didn’t have a choice. It was straight up—a loooong way up! A ladder of sorts was built into the vertical side of this wadi and our group was exiting that way. With others climbing up before me and right behind, I couldn’t look up or down. I just had to focus on one step at a time. If anyone had told me that morning what I’d have to do that day, I might have tried to beg off. But as it is, I learned a valuable lesson that day in Israel about God’s provision of strength and courage every step of the way.
Each morning as consciousness dawns on me, I greet the Lord with thanks for sleep and for the newness of another day. Then I mentally review my plans for the day while acknowledging that He may have some surprises in store to be meted out along with the grace to handle them.
I’m reminded of a simple song my mother taught me as a child:
Step by step I’ll follow Jesus
Hour by hour I’m in his care
Day by day He walks beside me
Through the years I know He’s there.
He can still the mighty tempest
He can calm the troubled sea
He the waters trod, He’s the Son of God
He’s the One who always walks with me!
I have confessions to make: I’m a scaredy cat. Scared of heights. Scared of water. Scared of… well, new things and change, and more than I’d like to admit.
But I’m in good company. Joshua must have been rather nervous about leading the Israelites into Canaan because God and even his people kept telling him, “Don’t be afraid!” “Be courageous!” Why? “God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, etc.)
We also read about the Israelites cowering between the Red Sea and the advancing Egyptian army. And Mary startled by an angel with an astounding announcement. And shepherds blinded by laser light from heaven. And the disciples sighting a “ghost” walking on the stormy lake. And Jairus whose daughter had just died. And many more. All of these were told “Don’t be afraid.” Because God is there.
My fear of heights was challenged a few years ago when my husband and I visited Israel and our group walked along a narrow path above Wadi Qilt between Jerusalem and Jericho. On one side it dropped straight down too far to look (yikes!) and on the other, it went straight up. I had no alternative but to keep putting one foot ahead of the other, imagining (or maybe it wasn’t my imagination) that I was following my Shepherd along that scary path. And you know what? We made it! It was a faith-growing experience.
Though I’m still scared of a lot of things, I know that God is with me and will lead me through whatever He permits to happen.