"Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need." - James 1:4
When I was a kid, we spent many Sabbath afternoons in the mountains (I lived in Colorado at the time). I remember many times we would hike just to see were the trail would take us and to see were we would end up. On a few occasions we would come across streams and rivers and would cross to the other side. Sometimes I didn’t want to get wet so I would look for stones or rocks in the water, to hop too, that would get me across.
It’s fun as kids and sometimes when we’re older to hop over stones on a path rather than staying on the path. Partly because hopping is fun and partly because seeing if you can make it to each stone or object, is challenging. That could be why we like hopscotch too.
Have you ever thought that maybe our lives are like steppingstones too? God has already promised to be with us in life (Isaiah 41:13). But because of sin we have become separated from God (Isaiah 59:2). God doesn’t like the separation even more than we don't like it, but because of the world we live in and our sinful nature it is harder to find our way back. But God has provided a way, steppingstones. He knows it won’t happen overnight because of our habits and the obstacles we face daily. So, each trial, each heartache, each moment of praise, and each blessing are steppingstones. Stones to help us find ways to seek God for help and comfort and for praise and thanksgiving. He hasn’t left us, He’s right there with us hopping along the stones, guiding and molding us (Joshua 1:9), so when He returns to take us home we will have made it across the river and be ready to go with Him (1 Peter 1:7, Revelation 3:20).
It doesn’t stop there though, as God puts steppingstones in our path to help us, He wants us to be steppingstones to help others too. All too quickly our words and actions can become a stumbling block that causes another to fall, just like that one rock just too far to hop too, leaving us in the water or on the ground. Yes, everyone is responsible for their own actions and choices, but God clearly tells us we have a responsibility to be a steppingstone not a stumbling block (Romans 14:13).
We must base our entire life on our faith in our Heavenly Father. Everything around us may fall, but if we will hold on to His hand, He will hold us up in the midst of every storm. Use each steppingstone to climb higher to Jesus, be a conqueror in Jesus (Romans 8:37).
Following is a short story of how we can overcome adversities using what is thrown at us, like steppingstones.
‘The Farmer's Donkey: A Fable for Our Time
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out a way to get him out. Finally, he decided it was probably impossible and the animal was old and the well was dry anyway, so it just wasn't worth it to try and retrieve the donkey. So the farmer asked his neighbors to come over and help him cover up the well. They all grabbed shovels and began to shovel dirt into the well.
At first, when the donkey realized what was happening, he cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down and let out some happy brays. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well to see what was happening and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was shaking it off and taking a step up. (Shifting)
As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he continued to shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, to everyone's amazement, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
Moral: Life is going to shovel dirt on you. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Every adversity can be turned into a steppingstone. The way to get out of the deepest well is by never giving up but by shaking yourself off and taking a step up.
What happens to you isn't nearly as important as how you react to it.
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