I went to the doctor for a physical earlier this week. Unlike my freshman college calculus class, I passed this test with flying colors. I also learned that I have 20/13 vision. Unsure if that was good, bad, or meant that I was living a couple of years in the past, I asked the nurse for some clarification. She informed me that my vision was “better than perfect,” as if that’s really a thing. Upon further research, apparently I can see at 20 feet what the average person can see only at 13 feet.
So I can see really well. Which is awesome–until I remember that walking faithfully has nothing to do with what I can see (2 Corinthians 5:7).
One of my favorite illustrations regarding walking faithfully is found in Psalms 119:105:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
God’s word will illuminate my way, telling me where to and where not to step. Encouraging, right? Well, sort of. The object used in the illustration is a lamp, which would be the ancient equivalent of a flashlight. However, whereas the modern flashlight projects a concentrated beam quite a distance ahead, the ancient lamp didn’t have that ability. You know what a lamp in this context would illuminate? The next step. Not the end of the path, not the desired destination–just the next step.
Here’s the deal: being able to see at 20 feet what most people can only see at 13 feet means nothing when the lamp only lights the way for the next 3 feet.
And so we walk by faith, not by sight. Sometimes it’s more like stumbling or crawling, but by God’s grace we progress by faith–not by faith in the path or by faith in the destination, but by faith in the One who lights the way, one painfully slow step at a time.