A Step of Faith

I have to admit, it was awkward when we encountered Herbie. The owner of the home had let us know about the location of the hidden key for the front door. It was rather late when we arrived, and Herbie was none too happy when we entered. In fact, Herbie ran halfway up the stairs and, thinking we were uninvited guests, loudly made his displeasure known.
If you haven’t already guessed, Herbie is a dog. He had his tail between his legs and alternated between barking and growling at us while I tried to speak gently to him and assure him that we were friends and not foes. One of my biggest problems at first was not remembering his name. I tried all the common ones: Rover, Spike, Fido, Buddy, Fred… `he kept up with what he must have believed was a threatening ritual. I was able to get to the kitchen where I found a note with his name on it. Success! The minute I said his name, he began to wag his tail, and he must have decided that perhaps we belonged there after all.
Since the family had not been there all day, the next order of business was getting him out for a little relief. I found a leash and was easily able to get him to go both in front of the house and a little while later, out the back door. Being likely appreciative, Herbie was now acting very friendly. Our nephew arrived home soon after, and now my new furry friend was totally happy. It was a nice evening, and since we had spent a long day traveling in the car, I wanted to take Herbie for a walk. Our nephew thought it was a great idea.
Once again, I put Herbie’s leash on him and started out the door and down the front steps. The stroll ended there. Herbie promptly and firmly planted himself in a sitting position, and despite his slender build and medium stature, I couldn’t get him to move. I tugged a bit, but this canine was going nowhere. Being engaged in conversation with my husband and son, my nephew forgot to tell me that Herbie was wearing a collar that confines him to his property. Of course he wasn’t leaving the front yard! Benjamin came out and removed the prohibitive neckwear.
“Come on, Herbie. Let’s go, boy.” Herbie sat in his previous chosen spot. Once again he was making it clear that he was not going to move. I spoke kindly to him; I pulled on the leash; I stepped in place trying to give him the idea, but he still would not take a step forward. Benjamin came out again. This time he carried Herbie past the boundary onto the sidewalk and walked a few yards with us until Herbie understood that everything was okay and he was free to go. He happily trotted along with me for almost forty minutes, which cemented our newly made friendship.
Herbie’s reluctance to make a move reminds me of how we can often approach our walk of faith. We freeze in place, influenced by past experience and giving in to debilitating fear. We plant our feet and dig in our heels believing we know what’s best for us. Not only is it likely to our own detriment, but as we miss out on what God has determined to be for our good, we may fail to experience the reward and joy of something really special. The path, which often does bring us into situations meant to refine us in our faith, stays untouched. We miss the opportunity to be better for God, and we pass up the prospect of a blessing that God may have planned to give us.
Hebrews 11, known as the faith chapter, begins with the following: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Those who truly walk in faith trust God and step forward, confident that He will lead, guide and help them take the journey into the unknown. “If the LORD delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds Him with His hand” (Psalm 37:25-26). This is trust in someone who will never fail and is always the same. God takes delight in and is pleased with those who take steps of faith, relying solely on Him and His promises.

Herbie finally realized the blessing of going beyond what he thought he knew from his past experience and moving forward with me for an enjoyable jaunt. How much more will we be blessed as we move out in faith to follow our trustworthy God. May He give you courage to take that first step. Enjoy the journey!

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