In my last post I wrote about the spectacular fall I had at OU during a football game. It was one of my more attractive moments! Since then I have been getting some physical therapy for balance, and part of the therapy involves proprioception, that I also mentioned in my last talk. Briefly, our bodies have specialized nerve endings in our joints and muscles that send messages to the brain about the position and movement of our body parts. For example, close your eyes and extend your arm out to the side so that it is parallel to the floor. Now, with eyes still closed, bend your elbow 90 degrees toward the ceiling. You were able to do that without looking because your proprioceptors were able to tell your brain the position of your arm. Your brain was then able to move your arm properly without the benefit of sight.
Part of my balance therapy requires standing on a squishy foam board and performing movements with my feet, head, and arms with my eyes closed. These movements challenge all of my lazy balance systems at the same time. This is more difficult than you might think. Apparently balance is a “use it or lose it” mechanism. And one of the best ways to strengthen it is to confuse it by making it unstable and then removing eyesight. I can tell you…I don’t like it! I want to be on firm ground with my eyes open.
As I was performing these movements yesterday I was thinking about how much life is like that. We want to be on firm footing and to be able to see where we are going. We want to know what is ahead and figure out how we are going to handle it. When life removes our familiar supports, when things are unsteady and the future is uncertain, we don’t like it. At least I don’t. And this is where walking by faith comes into play.
Walking by faith means we trust God’s promises even when we can’t see where we are going. It means we trust in the goodness and purposes of God even though we may be going through severe and frightening trials. The Bible encourages us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). We keep our eyes fixed on the eternal things that we cannot see now, and not on the temporary things that we can see (2 Cor. 4:18). We have hope, not hope as a wish, but hope as a secure anchor that we can trust when we are going through stormy seas.
Here is my true confession: I hate trials and I would rather not have to walk by faith. I want to be able to look ahead and see good things…many more years with my husband, happy lives for my children and grandchildren, a good report in My Chart, a lower number on my bathroom scales and a higher number in my bank account. But I often say, with all the moving parts in our large family, if everyone is at a good place…don’t breathe. Because life can change in a moment. Trials happen, and those trials require faith. And walking by faith through those trials develops my trust muscles.
This much I know: God is a good God…all the time. Even when things don’t look good, I know I can trust my good God. His purposes toward us are always for good, not only for my good, but also for His bigger plans down the road that I cannot see right now. And not only is He good, he is a way maker, and a promise keeper. He makes a path for me, and goes before me and behind me. He is my anchor.
Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! Psalm 77:19 NLT