At first glance, it appears as if the builders of this old building had made a serious error on the height of the doorway. But, looking back in time about 80-100 years, this door was used to help unload buggies that had deliveries to the local stores in our downtown area.
The photo has spoken to my heart today. When I see this set of stairs, it reminds me of the many challenges we all face to get to where we want to go. In many cases, it’s an uphill climb. The journey can be long and full of cracks, pot holes, and rugged terrain to get past.
I remember working at the Financial Aide department in college at ORU. The director took me under her wing and liked to coach me about pastoral things. She was a pastor’s wife, as well as my director and a teacher. Her husband also taught in the school’s theology department where I was taking classes. Judith and Ken Mayton were both wonderful teachers and role models.
The work was fun, but challenging because, what we put together for the students meant them being able to attend or go home. Needless to say, I had to deal with some parents who didn’t understand why they’re son or daughter didn’t get enough financial aid.
Judith pulled me into her office one day and sat me down. In the most loving, but direct way she could, she said, ‘Brad, you need to get thicker skin, or those church folks are going to have you for lunch…’. I never forgot that coaching moment. A few years later, I learned in life what she meant.
I left college with dreams and high expectations only to be met with some of the most challenging days I’ve ever experienced. Getting to the top of those stairs wasn’t going to be easy. In fact, I fell off them many times. Often, it was all I could do to hold onto that rail as I tried to take the next step.
What I’ve learned since is that nothing in life comes easy. It’s work and effort on a daily basis. If we keep our eyes on the prize, we will make it to the doors at the top. Even then, the doors may be locked, ore even bolted shut, until we find the wisdom to open them.
It's not a lack of faith to have realistic expectations. It’s not ‘negative’ to expect that, when we step out into marriage, a career, a new direction, or have kids, life isn’t going to be easy. In fact, if we go into it knowing that, when it happens, we’ll be ready for it.
Those rose-colored glasses are great until they fall off and get stepped on. Or, we are so blinded by them that we fall off those stairs never noticing that there was an obstacle in the way or that the railing was there.
The Bible calls it wisdom. Wisdom is the understanding of life that goes beyond ourselves and gives us vision to see the hazards ahead. It gives us guidance at the most crucial of times. Foolishness, ignores all the warning signs and plows ahead, often, to disaster.
Wisdom comes with age, experience, and humility. A long time ago, after going through some of those challenges in real life, and failing greatly, I began to seek wisdom above all else. Looking back, I can see that was the best thing I could have ever done.
Learning from my mistakes, walking in humility, and trusting God has proven to turn around a broken life into one that, even though it has much more growing to go, is far better than it could have ever been without wisdom.
Be encouraged today that, if you’re struggling to get up those stairs and don’t seem to have a clear direction or way to get there, God can give you the wisdom you need. He can help you through whatever challenge you’re having to get to the door at the top. He will never leave you or forsake you because He loves you. Even when you slip and fall off those stairs, He’ll be there to pick you up and help you to get back on.
I’m praying for you to be filled with all wisdom and faith today. That, if you’re seeking direction in your life, He will make the path clear. And, if you’re struggling up those stairs, that He’ll give you the strength to continue until you get to the top and through that door…
Love always friend,