“NEXT” January 17
Day 11 “Our Next”
Recently, at the playground, my daughter Pearl wanted to go on the monkey bars. As she hung on the first rung of the bars and looked at the end I saw discouragement on her face and she asked me to carry her to the end. I explained to her that she could do it, with me as her spotter, if she went one rung to the next using the strength that she had and knowing I was supporting her and holding her steady underneath. The first couple of rungs were easy….then I saw her small arms begin to tremble and she asked me to let her drop. Instead, I held her full weight until she was ready to continue. I told her how proud I was of her progress, and how I knew she could do it because she is so much like me. I could see my strengths in her and the “grit” that had been passed down to her. I reminded her I would never drop her! She listened to me, smiled, and was soon ready to keep going. The journey got more difficult as she went on, but I kept my hand on her and I saw fresh hope in her as she realized she’d gotten to the next rung, and the next, all the while knowing I was there with her, supporting her, encouraging her. We rested more than once, and each time I reminded her of all those things. She was so proud of herself when she got to the end, but she said, “Mommy, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
We too, are people like the above scripture, who have set our hearts and minds on a pilgrimage. We are on a journey. We are going to appear before our King. We hit a certain place and ask God, “What’s next? What comes after this?” Maybe we feel like dropping out, giving up, or beg Him to just carry us to the end with no further strain on our part. Instead, our Father carries our full weight, letting us rest as we soak in His comfort and encouragement to keep going. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He sees His traits and likeness in us and He couldn’t be prouder of our progress. He knows and reminds us He will not drop us.
Our next is an exchange, but not one where something is dropped and replaced with something else. Rather, it’s building upon the last; adding to our progress, strengthening our relationship with our God. It’s walking through the valley of weeping and exchanging it for refreshing springs, as Psalm 84 says. It’s moving forward, exchanging strength for strength, next for next, from one level of success to higher level of success. We go, but also grow from strength to strength. Our “nexts” are not aimless, and they are not space fillers. Even if our next is a pause and wait, Isaiah 40:31 promises that we will exchange strength for strength as we wait. New strength. We progress, not digress. Wells of refreshment open before us because our strength comes from the Lord. He never grows weak or weary. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. He is already in our “Next”.