No Hill for a Stepper

Too often, we look on that passage “God never gives you more than you can handle” as though He is putting you through some awful test, or that He is “easing up on the throttle” regarding just how much pressure He is causing you to endure. This writing is to help us see this passage from His perspective; maybe He is not giving us all we can handle because we are weak, child-like, and rather immature in our lives with Him.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV

Note: In my early 20’s, I was apprenticing under a Senior Mechanical Engineer and he was passing along a project to me that was a bit challenging, a bit complicated, and to me a bit too far over my head. When I expressed my concern about this to him, he quickly replied, “It’s no hill for a stepper”. After a pause of confusion on my face, he went further to explain that getting over the little humps is easy. Getting over the larger ones simply means you grow to be bigger than that hill… so-as to just step right over it, rather than struggle to climb it.

When we consider any of the tougher jobs, tasks, or responsibilities in life, we would rarely consider a child, or teen capable of handling these. They are not seasoned, mature, and especially experienced to cope with and balance the process of many of the daily life events. We are not born with built-in experience. We are not born with built-in knowledge. And, we certainly are not born with built-in maturity… these come with time, exposure, and progress. Even more-so, growing older does not automatically cause us to mature, to become wise, and especially to qualify us to handle deeper and more challenging events. 1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV tells us, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

The innocence of a child is quite endearing. Their freshness of life… their gleeful approach to many events… their naive curiosity is just so sweet, so precious and almost enviable (oh, to be a child again, we might say). To expose them to the tougher experiences and challenges in life almost always ends in disaster, calamity, and will typically cause a lifetime of anguished memories. As we grow older and older, we all-too-easily feel as though we are ‘up for the challenge’ and are ‘ready to take on the world’. The energy and desire are commendable, and the caution that needs to be included is that we don’t “bite off more than we can chew”, as it were.

Parable of the Sower
And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;  And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:  And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:  But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:3-9 KJV

Through life, these challenges we face will typically encourage us, or defeat us. Sure, many of us are a bit more tenacious than failing once and giving up. But, there are times when trying over and over again without success, or advancing, or ‘getting past it’ can leave you destroyed and quite demoralized. In many ways, ‘the hill is too large’ to overcome… to get past… to step over, as it were.

As I noted earlier, these challenges will either encourage us or defeat us. Too often, we may just settle into a “so, this is my life” place and almost never take on any new effort to progress…. to grow.. to expose our spirits to ‘yet another potential defeat’. These hills in our lives can do one of three things, stop us completely, motivate us to give it another try, or encourage us through success.

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

Psalms 119:67

As children of God almighty, we are not facing life alone…. we are not simply struggling to get over this hill God has placed before us… or conniving a slick way to get around it… or just sitting down in one of those ‘this is as far as I go, I guess’ puddle of resolve. Rather, He has provided His Word, His Spirit, and His promise to not only lead you, but instill the strength in you to give it another try. The key component is the meatier matters of life, though… the deeper things in God… the things beyond the “when I was a child” reference, earlier.

You see… eventually, we must come to terms with growth in our lives.. with moving on.. with stepping up and stepping over these little bumps in our lives… to go beyond that self-deprecating place in our lives where Meaty Matters Allude. The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:2 KJV, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able“. Our Lord knows just how ‘not’ hard we are trying… just how ‘not’ responsible we are being… and worse, just how ‘not’ honoring we are being with our lives, with our promise and commitment to follow, grow, and hold-dear His acceptance of us… His forgiveness of our very sin, our avoidance, and even our complacency.

Lay aside malice, guile, hypocracies, envies, and evil-speakings

1 Peter 2:1

These five traits in our lives is one of the key elements holding us back. Any one of these cause us to shun others around us… any one of these seem to lead to the other. Peter included them together here because they all are variations of tearing-down others… of judgement.. of the core components that keep us on that suckling-milk and unable to grow, mature, and certainly teach others how to grow and mature, too. We’re too caught up in the tangibility of life… the touch-it and believe-it way that life is presented in this day and age. At a time in our lives when we are wishy-washy, indecisive, and even ‘lawyer like’ ambiguous with our words, our ways. See… in 2 Cor. 1:17 we are reminded, “When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?” This is to say, it is time to ‘not’ be fleshy in your life… to ‘not’ be led by the whims of our thoughts.

God will not force you to behave. Following His leading is our choice… it is the surrender in our lives and heart that gets His grace moving in our lives. 1 Peter 1:13-25 gives us the direction we need, in that we are to ‘gird up our loins of our minds‘ and ‘not fashioning ourselves according to the former lusts in our ignorance‘… to grow beyond the simpleness… the easy-way of life… and even the “everyone else is doing it, why can’t I?” way of living.

No… the deeper things in this life escape the simple… God’s ways require faith… require patience… require trust in Him and hope for His leading. That is how all the struggles in your life go from looking like an overwhelming mountain that is too large to overcome. This mountain is just what Jesus was referencing when He stated, “…because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20).

And there is that reference to the mountain again… “no hill for a stepper” is how that actually applies… having faith to step right over that trouble… to approach that huge obstacle with His trust deep in your heart… deep in your soul. John the Baptist was even proclaiming Jesus’ coming and told us in Luke 3:5, that “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth“.

How do we do this, though? How can we be so sure… such that ‘nothing is impossible‘, as Jesus noted in Matthew? God in Us; that is the only way. Notice what the psalmist told us;

God in You
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalms 119:11 (KJV)

When His word is stored in our lives, it is second-nature how we react to turmoil… it is a natural flow of His grace in our lives… no longer are we pondering, stumbling, and even shying away from the tougher things (hills and mountains) in our lives.

Over time, you will look back over your life and realize the hills you have stepped right over… the mountains you have moved… the ease with which the Lord can lead you through this life. No… you have not ‘arrived’, at all. You have not ‘finished the race’ in any way… rather… He has prepared you to grow beyond the simpler things of life… as noted at the beginning of this writing, “…but when I became a man, I put away childish things“.

As our faith is established in our lives and we grow beyond that ‘milk’ phase and yearn for meatier substance from the Lord, we are much more prepared to handle the challenges.

Additionally, we are becoming more and more prepared, willing, and certainly able to share this faith… this trust… this deeper life with others. No longer are we selfishly looking to be fed by the Lord… to be blessed by the Lord… to be nurtured, protected, and shielded from the turmoil of the world. Rather, we break out of that “it is all about me” approach to life, and begin considering those around us, too.

Time to Teach
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Hebrews 5:11-16 KJV

Exercise and Use: without exercising our faith… without using our faith… without actually putting our faith to the test, it is all theory… all just conjecture… all simply a matter of logic and surmising. So many of us avoid exercise or avoid trials and even avoid what may appear as painful, hard, or anguishing. It is these experiences that bring growth and depth in our lives, though.

Trying the Faith
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

James 1:2-8