Living Life in the DR

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Do the Next Thing

Sometimes life seems overwhelming. There are days when I'm just not sure if I can keep going. The tasks in front of me seem too big to tackle, the struggles of life seem to steal my joy, trials are pouring down all around and I find myself feeling inadequate and unqualified for the quest.

Elizabeth Elliot speaks of this after the death of her husband Jim Elliot. She states " When I went back to my jungle station after the death of my first husband, Jim Elliot, I was faced with many confusions and uncertainties. I had a good many new roles, besides that of being a single parent and a widow. I was alone on a jungle station that Jim and I had manned together. I had to learn to do all kinds of things, which I was not trained or prepared in any way to do. It was a great help to me simply to do the next thing. I’ve felt that way [other] times in my life, and I go back over and over again to an old Saxon legend, which I’m told is carved in an old English parson somewhere by the sea. I don’t know where this is. But this is a poem which was written about that legend.

There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

Do the next thing. Those words have really resinated with me lately. It's not my job to have it all figured it out. It's not my job to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. It's my job to walk intimately with the God that knows me better than I know myself: the God who formed not only me, but earth itself, billions of stars, planets and galaxies. He's the God who sees all and knows all. All He asks of me is to walk faithfully with Him. He's the one who guides my steps. My job is to let go and let God. 

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God. Micah 6: 6-8 

There's such freedom in these words! I know I often feel the pressure to do it all. We have the tendency to want results and want them now. We question whether we've done enough or even done the right thing. We like to hold onto the lie that we are in control of our lives. But the truth is, the Lord is the one who guides our path and produces the fruit in our lives. He's in control. We can't change our circumstances, but we can change our perspective. He is sovereign and no one can thwart the plans of God. 

When life seems overwhelming, we can simply do that next thing. In the mundane, do the next thing. Step by step, trust the Lord. He desires a relationship with us. At the end of the day, that's enough. He is enough. Trust Him, lean in to Him and simply do the next thing.


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