Many years ago, my pastor preached a sermon about Indiana Jones. He recounted a scene from one of the film’s action sequences. Jones was on a quest for something really important (don’t ask me what). In his search, he came upon the ledge of a mountain. Across a wide and deep cavern sat the very thing he had been seeking, that he had endured hardships and enemies to locate. But there was no way to bridge the divide. Jones was frustrated. He was so close to the object of his desire, yet so far away.
According to my pastor (or at least my recollection of what he said), a voice of some kind told Indiana Jones to walk beyond the ledge to get the object. Fearless Jones paused. If he took a step over the edge of the mountain, there was nothing beneath him. He would fall to certain death.
But the “voice”—perhaps his own subconscious—kept encouraging Indiana Jones to move towards the object. With much trepidation, he inched forward with one foot. Miraculously (hence, its appearance in a church sermon), something came up out of the chasm to provide solid footing beneath him. Jones took another hesitant step, and once again, there was something underfoot. He continued moving forward, more confident with each step. Then, Indiana Jones rush full-steam ahead to get his prized object.
I’ve never seen this movie. I don’t even know the name of it. All I know is my pastor delivered the sermon about it sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s. This story, a metaphor of faith, has remained with me for the last 20 years. It is a great example of trusting God and walking out on faith, even when you aren’t certain what will happen after you take that first step.
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)
A few weeks ago, I picked up my BIG WRITING PROJECT after setting it aside earlier this summer. I had been pretty dissatisfied with what I had written so far, and was uncertain about how to make it better. I wasn’t sure what I wanted the main theme to be or how to structure the work. I couldn’t see how to resolve my conundrum. The lack of insight, which is pretty unusual for my writing, frustrated me for several months.
Then I picked it back up. All I knew was what the next step should be: Finish writing the first draft. At the beginning of the summer, I had outlined the sections to include in that draft. But I never completed it. This time, I decided, even though I didn’t like the rest of the draft and where it was headed, I would at least finish what I started. I did a few weeks ago. Then I printed out the whole draft. Afterwards, I knew what the next step should be: I would read over the draft and begin the revising process.
Before I could even start, I had an epiphany one morning. I woke up and knew exactly what the next step should be. I knew what the theme would be, how I would structure it, and what genre to write. So, I sat down last week reshuffling my draft to align with my new structure. When I finished, the next step was to begin reading and revising my second draft. I decided to start with the first chapter. I spent much of the last weekend cutting, pasting, shifting and rewriting. I’m still far from having something that I love, but I know how to proceed from here. I know the next step to take.
As much as we would like to see the whole picture and know how everything turns out in the end, that insight usually evades. Often, when we are at the beginning or in the middle of a project, relationship or situation, the ending is very hazy. I believe the Divine knows we would be utterly overwhelmed if we knew all the amazingly wonderful and challenging things He has in store for us. So, He encourages us by showing us just the next step. When we take that step, when we walk in faith, He is there to meet us—and show us the next step.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
Is there a project that you are working on, and you aren’t sure how to finish it? Have you come to a crossroads, and are uncertain which way will get you where you want to be? Or are you clueless about where your life is headed?
Can you let go of your need to see the big picture and how it all ends? Can you take the next step, and trust the Divine will meet you there—and show the steps to take after that? Can you trust that the Divine always works things out for the best?
Don't worry about the ending. Just focus on taking the next step!
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.