With Each Step

“Tucked Away,” ©2018 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2018 Lynn Abbott

I remember peering out the window of our Dodge Dart, watching all the cars pass us on I-5.  The enormous trucks barreling down the freeway fascinated me.

My mother may have trembled as the trucker’s tail wind caught our vehicle.  She never said.

But I felt no anxiety.  Mom was in the driver’s seat.

It’s amazing what a difference trust makes.  Fast forward a few more years than I’ll ever admit… and picture my teaching our son to drive…

Yup. On this occasion, “Mom” was obviously in the passenger seat.

“Stop, stop, stop,” I cried, slamming my foot nearly through the floor board.

“Mom…  I got it, ” my then-a-teen protested.

Heavy traffic on a Friday afternoon plus the two stop signs he’d slightly overshot did little to buoy my confidence.

Don’t even get me started on “Mr. Indianapolis 500” who tailed us on the narrow, windy, shoulder-less road.  I held my breath and gripped my seat.

White knuckles.

Even so, my son successfully slid in behind the other cars at the stop light.

It’s amazing what a difference trust makes.

You betcha.  It truly matters who’s in the driver’s seat. After all, you can never predict what’s around the next bend.

Sigh. Sometimes I wish that I had a panoramic view of life.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you and I could see and prepare for every eventuality?

Of course, I’d scramble to avoid all the “bad” bits. Without a doubt, I’d cut out the heavy traffic and narrow mountain roads.

Give me an easy, 8-lane, desert, freeway cruise–a straightaway that gives me a clear shot for miles.

Quite honestly, at times, I’ve yelled, “Stop, stop… I want out of the car…Lemme walk home.”

More times than I can count.

Yes, when I started this journey, I had no idea what obstacles awaited.

But come to think of it, perhaps it was better not to know. I’m not sure how I would have responded had I known all that was ahead of me.

Quite honestly, throughout my life, I’ve yelled, “Stop, stop… I want out of the car…Lemme walk home.”

Maybe, it’s best to simply sit back and enjoy the ride– safely in the back seat of my heavenly Father’s “Dodge Dart.”

Uh, huh. That’s grace for you.

I imagine that when Jesus called Simon Peter and Andrew, they felt  childlike excitement.   Jesus was going places, and they were happy to ride piggy-back.

And at first, following Him was relatively easy.  While they gave up their steady employment as fishermen, they exchanged their mundane lives for a grand adventure. They studied and learned under the “rabbi of the hour.”

Jesus amassed an enormous following.  He turned water into wine; fed five thousand with five loaves and two fish; and healed every disease.

He taught with authority, and loved the ordinary as well as the outcast.  I suspect it was truly refreshing for a couple of fisherman to be singled out by the Messiah.

But they didn’t know what following Him would ultimately mean.

Fortunately for all of us, grace builds faith gradually.  Abba doesn’t throw us into the deep end.  He doesn’t ask us to navigate the sheer cliffs of the Amalfi coast line without first mastering the quiet boulevard in our hometown.

And so it was for Peter and Andrew.  It all started with a simple “Come and see Jesus.”

I doubt they fully understood what Jesus meant when He said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”

Nevertheless, as Andrew clearly said to Simon Peter, they believed,” We have found the Messiah,” (John 1:41).

Fortunately for all of us, Grace builds faith gradually.

With each day’s discipleship, they grew to know and trust Him better.  With each miracle, their confidence grew.  Their early walk filled with joy.  They delighted in the presence of the Son of God.

Isn’t that just the way it is when we first come to know Him?  Gently, He leads us.  He nudges us along, encouraging us as we take baby steps of faith.

But as the journey with Christ extends from days into years, the path often grows more difficult.

And as faith requires more commitment and even brings moments of confusion along uncertain paths, some Christ followers drift away.

That has always been the case.

Even Judas, one of the twelve, lost confidence as the tide of popularity began to turn…

Yet, as the path gradually grows narrower and then, begins to wind up the mountain,  genuine faith clings to Christ (Matthew 10:22).  Granted, at times, authentic faith hangs on with white knuckles. But hang on, it does.

After many followers had withdrawn, Jesus asked the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”

Peter’s response sums it up, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have words of eternal life,” (John 6:66-67).

The journey had begun on a sunny fishing day, but in time, storm clouds gathered.

Abba doesn’t promise a wide open, thoroughfare.

Would the disciples have followed had they known where the journey would lead?

Well, to be quite frank, I  don’t think they were ready for the cross that first day on the beach when Jesus called, “Follow me.”

When we first come to know Jesus, He gently leads us.

However, as Jesus spent more and more time with them and as they came to trust and love Him more, He began to hint of things that were to come.

And despite three years of daily discipleship, most of them hid in fear when the Sanhedrin put Jesus on trial.  On that Passover Eve, only Peter and John dared to stand in the shadows and observe the religious court.

That mountain climb to Calvary was fraught with peril–so much so that even the courageous and devoted Peter stumbled.

However, the disciples found hope in  Christ’s resurrection.  In fact, with Christ’s appearing, they stood on a mountaintop.

True, we now know that they would further encounter valleys of trial and suffering.   But instead of describing the gory specifics of persecution and martyrdom, Jesus gave them light just enough for the next step.

Jesus commanded them with a promise, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…and lo’ I am with you always…” (Matthew 28: 19-20).

That rag-tag bunch of fishermen, a tax collector, a doctor… all were commissioned with an extraordinary task.

Later, when they stood before the Jewish religious leaders as had their Savior, they likely remembered Christ’s comforting words, “And when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit,” (Mark 13:11).

His light illuminated the path just when they needed direction most.

Not a moment sooner.

We, too, may discover that the road to Abba’s house becomes increasingly difficult, despite the breathtaking mountain top views.

Yet, Grace guides us step-by-step.  His Word is a “lamp” for our paths (Psalm 119:105).

His light illuminates the path just when we need direction most.

We may not have a panorama view of our future, but we can trust Abba because even in the precarious passages because ” …the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials…” (2 Peter 2:9).

So, once again,  you and I will choose to trust the Sovereign Shepherd.  He knows the way.  We’re safe in the back seat of our Heavenly Father’s chariot.

Truly.  Knowing that Abba is in the driver’s seat makes all the difference.

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” ~John 14:26-27

82 Replies to “With Each Step”

    1. Oh, Gary… I am laughing because you have just described me! I always want to see the map. Ha, ha! Maybe, that’s why Proverbs 3:5,6 are so perfect for me as my life verses. 🙂 Thank you for giving me a HUGE smile today. Your authenticity truly encourages me! God bless you greatly!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s is from the passenger seat of a car that I have most often prayed your verse from John 14, and also, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
    God is ALWAYS the driver! 😄

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  2. I didn’t have the patience or the nerves to teach our son how to drive.
    I left that to my husband.
    We even waited several months following his birthday until taking him to get his licence.
    Yet it was just a few weeks until he had the false confidence and bravado to drive his dad’s hand me down truck to another town about 20 minutes away without saying…without letting us know…not until he was t-boned at an intersection by another young driver his age.
    The truck was totaled and thankfully all were safe…it was a lesson well learned.
    A lesson that, since it did not kill him, left a lasting strong impression…
    A lesson in Grace…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, my… What a brilliant but scary story! Yeah, it was quite a difficulty to teach our son to drive. Even now, I have to bite my tongue at times because I want to give driving “advice.” Ha! Yes… I can well imagine that your son came to understand “grace” through his experience. You are such great parents! Love and huge hugs to you, my dear friend!! ❤ ❤

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      1. Remember the old cop shows Kojack in particualr?? They’d be driving around in some kind of unmarked plain jane car and when they saw someone doing something bad, they’d slap the blue light on the dash and race off to catch the bad guy? Well I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had a blue light to slap up on my dash so I could stop have these idiots on the streets—you know, the ones who suddenly think it’s a brillant idea to exit right from the far left lane while cutting across 4 lanes of traffic within a hair of missing the exit along with every other ca!!!???
        See my eyes rolling while I look for my blue light 🙂

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  3. Blessed encouragement from you always! God is always in control and that’s why He’s always in the driver seat. Blessings! 💙💙

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  4. “Peter’s response sums it up, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.'” (John 6:66-67).

    Amen! I echo that often in my talks with my Lord. Sometimes, as I reflect on my life and ministry, to which God has called me, and I think about what life would be like for me if I was not doing what I am doing, I have this sentiment. Where else would I go? Where else would I want to go? What else would I do?

    And, I come to a similar conclusion as that of Peter. Jesus has the words of eternal life. I can do no less than serve him in doing what he has called me to do, and in going where he sends me, and in saying what he gives me to say. For, he gave his very life up for me on that cross to give me life in him.

    Yes, sometimes the road does get rough, especially the further we are into the journey, but our Lord is with us always, and he will take us through it all, and his light will lead the way so we know which way to go, so we never have to be afraid of the journey, or where it takes us, because he is the one in the driver’s seat, and so we can rest secure in him. Amen.

    Thanks so much, Lynn, for these encouraging words. God bless you, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes, dear Sue! Once again, we are on the same page! That is exactly how I feel! And Peter’s words truly resonate with me. Thank you for your wise words. Your authenticity and incredible faith always encourage and inspire me, Sue! ❤ ❤

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      1. Thank you, Lynn. Glory to God. So thankful to the Lord for the sweet fellowship we share together here with our brothers and sisters in Christ, so that we can encourage and inspire one another. ❤

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  5. I’m guessing these are more Tuscan settings? (I recognise the trees). How fabulously you paint, what a brilliant gift!

    Add this to the way you weave a story and my head and heart are flooded with pictures of real, meaningful life.

    You never cease to draw me into the fire of your message, and I always meet Jesus there. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Warren, how can I ever thank you enough for your kind words and encouragement? You just can’t imagine how much your encouragement buoys me. Painting a piece to accompany a study of God’s Word on a regular basis can be a lot of work, and sometimes, I get tired… but then, I find such wonderful words from you here, and I know it is worth it! Thank you; thank you! You truly are a “Barnabas”! God bless you beyond all that you can imagine! 🙂

      P.S. Yes, this is another Tuscan piece. We spent a month traveling in Italy last year… I stored up enough painting studies and photos to carry me in my studio work for several years! 😉

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  6. Love this lesson, Lynn. So often we forget that there is still a cost to being a Christian. It’s not always going to be smooth sailing and happy dances. We are in a constant state of change and alteration. Letting God take the lead is the best way. Thanks as always for your wonderful post and lovely art.

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    1. Amen, dearest Kathy! Amen! So thankful that Jesus is in the boat with me when those storms hit! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and encouragement here once again! I doubt you’ll never fully know how much it means to me!! Love and huge hugs!! ❤ ❤

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    1. Oh, Melissa… you truly have the gift of encouragement! Thank you with all my heart for your lovely words here! You truly have uplifted my heart today! I can’t thank you enough for your kindness and for your friendship! God bless you big time!! ❤ and hugs!!

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      1. Aww… I think that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me, dear Melissa! Thank you with all my heart!! And I actually think the same could be said of you! Takes one to know one, right? 😉 ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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  7. Lynn, thank you for yet another beautiful study of life with our Lord. I decided at just the right time that I did not want to know what was in my future, so as to be anxious and fearful of what was ahead. Learning to keep my eyes on the Goal is still not easy, but better than looking behind every rock or situation for the enemy and wondering what comes next. Psalm 73:22-26 will be the words of His grace for my memorial. Blessings as you try to keep up with your son. 🙂

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    1. Thank you with all my heart, dear Frances, for you encouragement! I truly look up to you, and am inspired by your faith and wisdom! Thank you so much for your amazing blog and friendship! God bless you greatly! ❤ ❤

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  8. Thank you for this message, Lynn. I’m so grateful that God leads me one step at a time. He never let me go any further before I was ready. Even though there were hard times, but He knew that I was ready and had the trust to go on the journey. I’m so grateful. Thank you for the beautiful words!

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  9. I must admit I used to feel so safe and secure as a child with my father driving. Now, I’m nervously watching his every move, constantly with an eye on the traffic and how close he comes to the edge of the road sometimes! I can just imagine what I’d be like if I had children to teach…!! A wonderful post on the importance and difference trust makes. Caz xx

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    1. Oh, I totally get that Caz… My son has been driving for a goodly number of years now, and it is still difficult to resist the temptation to offer running “commentary” about how he should drive… ooops… 😉 Thanks for your great comment! You gave me a HUGE smile today!! ❤ and hugs!!

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  10. Pretty painting! Great post! And Lynn, I believe in our day and time God allows parents to train their teenage drivers just so He can improve their prayer life!! If riding with your teenage driver doesn’t make you pray, then nothing will!! And it is a great point that we need to let Abba be in the driver’s seat without being a back seat driver or trying to take over the wheel!!!

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    1. Ha, ha! Yes, indeed. And even once they have learned to drive and enter into their adult years, we parents still find ourselves praying when they drive! Ha, ha! I was reminded of that just this morning 😉 Yes, I definitely need to learn NOT to be a backseat driver…with God or with others… 😀 Great thoughts, Jeff! I so appreciate you, bro! 🙂

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  11. Oh how I trust GOD in any situation……I have learned (notice I said learned) that HE really does know better. HE sees the big picture so why wouldn’t I trust HIM instead when half the time I have those blinders on!! Excellent post – loved it friend! Many hugs!

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    1. Oh, yes, dear Maxine!! I think for me it is an ongoing process of learning! Just when I think I’ve got it, I find I’ve tried to drive from the backseat again! Ha! Love your thoughts here! Your faith and authenticity truly inspires me, my wonderful friend! Love and huge hugs!!

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  12. Amen!!!! That is a perfect example of a parent handing the wheel over to a minor for the first time. God’s got this. What truth we have and assurance in His hands. Agreed, we all do better mentally and spiritually when we trust Him.

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    1. Yes, TR!! So true!! Sometimes, I forget that I simply need to trust God for the next step. So easy to want to see far down the road. But God has it all under control and I can and need to trust Him. Thank you so much for encouraging me with your example and words of faith, both here and on your blog! You are truly a huge blessing to me and so many others!! ❤ ❤

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  13. “Amen!” Full of truth and encouragement. I make time to sit and read your posts without distraction because I know it is going to be rich. 🙂

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    1. Aww… thank you with all my heart, Linda! That means the world to me! As you well know, God is good, and is faithful to answer prayer…especially when we ask Him to reveal the Truth of His Word to us. I’m grateful that He gives you insight and that my posts resonate with you! ❤ ❤ and huge hugs!!

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  14. Beautiful countryside image with words of truth and wisdom. Yes, we want to take the wheel ourselves many times when we think we may need to stop or go, or when we perceive danger. But – we need to realize we need to trust in a higher power than ourselves – one who knows us and loves us. Jesus Christ is with us when we surrender to Him and allow his Spirit to manifest Himself in our very being – moment by moment. Thanks for your beautiful insight.

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    1. Hi, Tom! Great to see and hear from you. I’m not quite sure I understand your question… But I’ll give it my best shot at responding to what I think your question is… As you suggest in your question, Christ can’t lose us. Once we truly accept/embrace Jesus as our Savior and Lord, no one can snatch us out of His hand, (John 10:27). But Scripture does indicate that those who “went out from us, but they were not really of us…”(see I John 2:19). Thus, considering this possibility, it is likely that Judas never exercised genuine faith… that he had simply hitched his wagon to what looked like a “winning” movement. After all, many, during that time, looked to Jesus to be the Jewish political savior. It wouldn’t be surprising if this were Judas’ expectation. But when discipleship required Judas count the cost, he jumped ship, so to speak. Scripture, in fact, indicates that Satan entered into Judas to use Judas to betray Christ. Faith obviously hadn’t taken root… It was as Jesus taught about the one that cleans the soul’s house but it nevertheless remains empty or unoccupied… not filled by God. In such a case, Christ said that the demon would return in full force and brings other demons as well, (Matthew 12:43-44). It is also just as Jesus described in the parable of the Sower: some seed falls on good ground and grows… some falls on rocky soil; some choked out by the cares of the world, etc, (Matthew 13:1-23). The proof of genuine faith is that it perseveres. Thus, the contrast between Judas and Peter. Peter, by the power of the Holy Spirit, had confessed that Jesus was the Christ. The Holy Spirit’s work in Peter’s life proved the authenticity of Peter’s faith. For this reason, when Peter denied Christ, he later genuinely repented and continued to walk with Christ. This is a pretty complex subject. I had started to explain it in detail in my original draft of this post, but in the interest of my readers’ time, I pared it down considerably. Perhaps, that caused that section of the post to be confusing? Have I understood correctly what you were asking here, Tom? Not sure. But whatever the case, I thank you with all my heart for providing me an opportunity to clarify this. God bless you greatly, my godly friend!! 🙂 🙂

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      1. @Lynn

        Your post was not confusing. Apparently, my question was.

        As your response indicates, I touched very superficially on a complex topic. I observed that God never loses us, but it seems we often take so little notice of Him we forget Him, or worse. Thank you for taking the time to add that important bit of clarity. Once we find God, He won’t let us lose Him.

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      2. Oh, I didn’t mean that you touched on the topic superficially, Tom… I meant that I didn’t delve into it deep enough in my post! But thank you with all my heart for your kindness and gracious words!! You are a wonderful friend! 🙂

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  15. Every time I take the wheel, I end up in the ditch…sometimes it is quite wide and deep and sometimes it is only a small one with one wheel in but a ditch none the less. Still, I find myself trying to be the navigator. We are stubborn humans but thankfully He never gives up on us. He dusts us off and pulls us out and repairs the damage…if we let HIm.
    Thank you, my precious friend, for all the beautiful words you write that make me think so long and hard about my relationship with our Savior. You are a treasure. Of course, your paintings always have me longing for that place of which I have no recollection, yet it is a place to which I long to return. Yes, I did say that right. Hard to explain but there it is! Thank you endlessly for all of your encouraging words and friendship. Love you so much! XO

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    1. Oh, dearest Vicki! You cannot imagine how much your thoughtful and extremely kind words encourage me! It has been one of those weeks when everything seems to spin… but your extraordinary kindness has lifted my spirit today!! And yes, I’m so grateful that He is in control! Just like you say, I continually land in ditches when I do the driving! I love your humility and authenticity and love for Jesus, dearest Vicki! You inspire me, and I’m truly grateful for your friendship!! Love and huge hugs, always!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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  16. I’m so pleased Lynn that I’m not the only one! the Police had a Party to Celebrate when Ron took the Car keys off me so I could no longer drive and cause them grief. Remind me to share with you Lynn about my day in Court for Neg Driving but you can be sure Lynn I was a great Evangelist, even Atheists started praying when they were a Passenger in my Car.Lol

    Yes as you shared Lynn, Jesus told l His Disciples to “Go and make Disciples of all the Nations but He also said to wait until Pentecost and than they would have the Empowering of The Holy Ghost and so will we when we Witness as Christians according to God’s Truth and His Good Will for us.(1Corinthians 2:9-16)

    The Bible is my Brag Book Lynn but I remember as a New Believer feeling very inadequate to witness to my Neighbor even though I wanted to. I asked my Pastor what should I do and he said to me; God will use what you have and give you what you need and I have never forgotten that Truth, I remember it especially now when I’m witnessing.

    (Luke 24:47-49 -Acts1:8 KJV)

    God Bless greatly you dear Lynn, Christian Love – Anne.

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    1. I so love your sense of humor, dear Anne! You are such a joy to know and your comments always brighten my day and week!! I love what you say, “The Bible is my Brag Book!” What a wonderful way to phrase it! Truly unforgettable. I will always think of that now when I think of the Great Commission. Thank you! God bless you big time, dearest Anne! Your friendship is truly a blessing to me! ❤ ❤

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  17. I smiled with understanding through your experience as mom in the passenger seat…and so needed to be reminded of the need to have God in the driver’s seat. I always feel so encouraged by your posts to trust God more fully. Thanks, Lynn!

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