While thinking about spiritual stepping-stones earlier in the week, I remembered some very special stepping-stones off the coast of Cornwall, England. Named after a legendary giant named Bedruthan, we took our children to see the rocky formations the giant supposedly used as stepping-stones to cross the bay. The view was spectacular as we stood on a cliff several hundred feet above the Bedruthan Steps–imagining the giant crossing the bay toward us against the setting sun.
The Bible does not mention stepping-stones, but it does talk about running a spiritual race that God has laid out for us. One of my favorites is found in Hebrews 12:1,
“Therefore, since we are surrounded
by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance
the race marked out for us . . . . “
Sometimes, particularly when we are feeling “stuck” in a situation, it helps to look back to where we have been to get our bearings. Looking for a practical way to work this “looking back in order to move forward” idea, it struck me that to prayerfully identify meaningful events in our lives as spiritual stepping-stones, could be very helpful. Here are some basics to enter into this process:
- The process must begin and end with prayer to be truly effective. (It is God who has established “the race marked out for us,” so it is entirely reasonable to look to Him for the practical insight we need.) Ask Him to help you identify: a) meaningful events that have impacted you; b) the Scripture Marker you remember it by and, c) the Spiritual Stepping-Stone that helped you to move forward.
- The first spiritual stepping stone marks when we embrace Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.
To help you get started in this process, I am going to share five personal Scripture Markers that influenced my life and the resulting Spiritual Stepping- Stones that brought me to where I am today. This is a very personal process so your list will look very different from mine–that is the whole point! So don’t get caught up on what I have listed:
- Asked God to take over my life; to save me from myself.
- Scripture Marker: “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again . . . no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit..” (John 3:3, 5)
- Spiritual Stepping-Stone: Jesus became my resting place as well as my primary source of strength each and every day.
- When overwhelmed by the possibility of losing our third born, God quieted my heart with the assurance that His purpose (no matter what happened) was for our family’s good.
- Scripture Marker: Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
- Spiritual Stepping Stone: I found great comfort in God’s goal for me: “to be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I embraced His goal as my own.
- When faced with the challenges of being a single mom (back when my husband was away much of the time) the Shepherd blessed me with this verse one Sunday morning:
- Scripture Marker: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11)
- Spiritual Stepping-Stone: I was greatly comforted by the assurance that my Shepherd was watching over me.j
- On 9/11/2001 I struggled all day trying to get my spiritual bearings as I watched the tragedy unfold. I begged God for help that entire day, but it seemed as if Heaven was silent. Late that night after finally turning off the TV, I went up to go to bed. As I pulled back the covers to get into bed, these thoughts ran through my head like an electronic billboard: “Hate what is evil: cling to what is good . . . GOD IS GOOD.”
- It was not until several days later that I found the Scripture Marker: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. “ (Romans 12:9)
- Spiritual Stepping-Stone: I slept peacefully that night despite the grief experienced that awful day. Since that time, I have learned to major on loving others, while leaning on the Lord to face- off evil in the world.
- When frightened because of personal health concerns I found myself gripped by fear as I contemplated my future.
- Scripture Marker: “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength . . . .” (Isaiah 30:15)
- Spiritual Stepping-Stone: God’s answer calmed my fears as I learned to stop running and intentionally trust Him more.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. I was surprised by how the process came together once I got started. If a Scripture Marker does not come to you right away, ask God to help you identify one that is meaningful to you. (You need the Scripture Marker to provide your Spiritual Stepping-Stone to stand on.) Whether you are facing a difficult situation, have an important decision to make or are at a relatively quiet place in your life, I encourage you to take time to do this for yourself. Being able to view the Spiritual- Stepping-Stones of your life cannot help but strengthen you to finish the race God has marked out for you!
All to His Glory!