Today’s article is another installment in Brother P.’s column, “Lessons From the Nursing Home.”
As you may have heard (unless you are new to the Gospel Blog) my career involves getting people to walk in a nursing home. Often times, it is tempting to tell the resident whom I am walking with all the things that they need to fix while walking.
“Don’t drag your foot. Make initial contact with your heel. Bigger steps, faster steps. Don’t get too far from the walker, etc.” But anytime I give in to that temptation, I find that the person walking struggles following all those directions at the same time.
You’ve probably seen this with children trying to bat in Little League. “Elbow up. No, other elbow. Step back from the bag. Spread your feet. Get your bat back, etc.” Usually the kid is trying to follow so many directions that he or she cannot even swing as the ball goes by.
God does not paralyze us by giving too many directions at once. Consider Jonah. “Go to Nineveh and preach repentance … No, no, that’s the wrong direction. No, not on a boat. No, Tarshish is the wrong direction. When you get to Nineveh, look for the king, and here is the scripture you need to give. Remember intonation. Move your body so they don’t get bored. Don’t forget to kiss the babies … Don’t, don’t, don’t! Do, do, do!”
Sometimes we expect God to lay out the whole plan, and we think the one-step direction is not enough. But God knows how to get you to hit the ball. And just maybe we can skip a lot of suffering — maybe stinky, fishy digestive suffering — if we just follow the one direction He is giving us right now.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.