The first sentence of Anne Lamott’s book, “Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith,” is a wonderfully authentic confession:
“My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another.”
As her story is told it becomes somewhat apparent that those steps she took, while they may have eventually felt safe, came at the end of mental and spiritual struggles that felt anything but safe. By the time she was willing to take the next step, it was the only thing that was left to do.
In his closing words to the Thessalonian church, after cautioning them not to ignore or be flippant about prophecies, Paul says,
“but test everything; hold fast what is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5.21
Faith is vital to the Christian walk, but let us be careful not to confuse faith with foolishness. It is not a lack of faith to look before you leap. It is not a lack of faith to press a cautious toe onto the next stone as you cross the raging rivers of life. Didn’t Jesus say that his truth was so dependable that even the most violent of storms wouldn’t be able to damage the life built on His foundation (Matt. 7.24-25)? Surely that kind of dependability isn’t afraid to be nudged a bit before we jump onto it.
Staggering from last resort to last resort isn’t the worst way to move toward God. There is, in fact, no bad way to move toward God. The only bad way to move is away from Him.