“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” -Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)
“Are we there yet?” Kids ask their parents this when it seems their trip is taking a long time to reach their destination. Adults similarly ask God, “How long, Lord, how long?” when it seems something is not happening within their expected timeframe. We all want to get to there, wherever there may be.
Theologically, there is our providentially purposed destiny, the place in which we fulfill God’s will and find fulfillment in life. Life’s journey is the path to reach that place called there.
The question how does God get us to there? is an inquiry into God’s guidance, specifically how God guides us to get us there.
The first matter related to getting to there is acknowledging that God’s guidance is a necessity to realize destiny. A premise from Proverbs 20:24 and Jeremiah 10:23 is God’s guidance is a necessity because of humanity’s inability.
Pondering how does God get us to there? is related to the rhetorical question how do you eat an elephant?
This phrase is a way of inquiring how to tackle something huge, how to approach an overwhelming project or achieve something impossible.
St. Francis of Assisi is credited for stating: “Start doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Bishop Desmond Tutu stated, “There is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.” This has been considered how to tackle humongous matters; and in a way suggested by Bishop Tutu, how to proverbially eat the enormous elephant.
Accomplishing something big or seemingly impossible can be done bit by bit. First, chill and take a deep breath. Second, break the project down into small, cumulative tasks to be done over time until the project is completed.
In the same way, God providentially guides us in increments. As it is impossible to eat an elephant in one big gulp, God does not catapult us to destiny in just one giant step. Rather he takes us one step at a time, with each step bringing us closer to reaching our destiny, fulfilling what God has purposed for us in life that will bring him pleasure, honor and glory.
Our issue is that we want to get to there in one big step or gigantic stride or one miraculous, major move. But just as it was with the little cloud the size of a man’s hand, the first of what turned into many clouds that brought an abundance of rain that ended the draught in the days of the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 18:41-46), each small incremental step taken in life will unfold the plan of God and bring forth accomplishment of God’s will in your life.
In Acts 9:1-6 at the scene of the collision on Damascus Road, in interrupting Saul’s plans redirecting his life, Jesus instructed Saul to “arise, and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Going into the city was one small step that Saul was to take in getting to there, his place of destiny. For in the city of Damascus Saul was going to be informed what God’s sovereign purpose for his life was.
Being the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong’s famous words heard across the world in July 1969 were, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” As it was for Neil and humankind, in God, taking one small step directed by him can be a giant leap in your life. One step directed by God can catapult you into what seems like overnight success, but generally there were multiple, incremental steps taken before then.
Since a person’s steps are of the Lord, let God direct you in the way you are to go; trust God in the steps he has you to take on your journey to your destiny.
Rev. Johnson A. Beaven III is a theological educator, speaker and wedding officiant. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @jbeaven.