"Can I ask you something?” An older gentleman beckoned to me.
I interrupted my morning walk in the mall and went to the bench where he was seated.
"How did you get started walking?” he asked. "I'm very weak, and I can't walk more than a few steps without getting worn out."
"I started walking a little at a time,"
I told him. "I walked as many steps as I could each day. For many years, I was very ill. Two years ago, the doctor wanted to put me in a nursing home. But God intervened, and I returned home from the hospital. Although I was very weak, I quickly began trying to walk again, and God has helped me every day."
The man reacted in surprise because of my age. I was obviously much younger than he.
"But I've never been sick before," he said softly. "I've never felt this way."
"After every surgery and setback, I felt very weak. I could take only a few steps to start with, but as each day passed, I began to get stronger. Don't give up. God will help you. I'll pray for you," I told him.
"Thank you, I appreciate that," he responded.
"Would you like me to pray for you right now?" I asked.
"Yes, I would," he replied. So in the middle of the mall, I prayed a simple prayer that God would strengthen and encourage him and help him to take the steps that he needed to take.
As I resumed my walk, I remembered how painful it had been to do my physical therapy exercises after fracturing my elbow. With my fractured ankle in an aircast, I was soon able to get around quite well. But the elbow felt very weak, and I wondered if I would ever have full range of motion.
If someone had told me at the time that I would be able to lift a five-pound dumbbell and do four sets of 30 curls with it, I would have responded, 'Wow! What a miracle that would be, especially since I haven't been able to lift more than two pounds in many years!'
God brought that miracle to pass! I still have osteoporosis, so my bones are fragile, but day by day He has strengthened me. I can do things—such as driving and writing this article—that I never would have imagined two years ago when I was bedridden.
"Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin." the Lord said to the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 4:10, The Living Bible). Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, had led the Israelites in laying the foundation of the temple after they returned from captivity, but the temple still needed to be rebuilt. At the time this monumental building project seemed an impossible task. But God gave Zechariah a reassuring message: ''The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it" (Zechariah 4:9, NIV).
If you are facing an overwhelming situation or a long recovery, take the small steps that God leads you to take and leave the timing and the outcome in His hands. He can do the impossible in His perfect time.
© 2013 by Nancy A. Stevens