I have to admit that I was little anxious about April, though it had nothing to do with the coronavirus or the curious conditions under which we’ve all been living lately. Rather, my watch, which doubles as a sometimes rather unreasonable personal trainer, told me at the beginning of the month that my challenge was to walk 210.8 miles, or seven miles a day. And that seemed to go beyond being a smart watch to being a smart-alecky one.
Still, I dutifully started the month and managed to maintain the pace, even getting ahead by three or four miles on the running total. And in turn, I actually ended up meeting the goal a day early somehow, despite the faulty calculation on the program that kept trying to divide the month of April into 31 days.
What I have figured out, however, reinforced by the past 21 months or 654 days of walking, is that you have to approach it simply one step—or perhaps I should say, one plodding step—at a time. Left. Now Right. Now Left Again. Now Right Again. Or in short, it’s not just “One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus,” it’s more accurately, “one foot at a time.” Which would seem to be an apt piece of advice as well for how to get through a pandemic period, and beyond that, how to navigate the Christian life as a whole.
Think of it like that manna in the wilderness if you will. For as the Hebrews who had come out of Egypt wandered somewhere in the Sinai, Exodus 16.4 records that God said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you,” though it turned out to be “thin flakes like frost on the ground”(verse 14) and not exactly an artisan loaf. It probably got pretty old pretty fast. But they had to admit that it kept them alive.
The catch was, however, that the manna wouldn’t keep overnight without spoiling, and so those Israelites were dependent upon God every morning for their “daily bread.” And that seems to be the general rhythm God built into this world. For if we can learn how to take life one day at a time, enjoying God’s mercies which are “new every morning,” we can slowly but surely whittle away at what may seem like looming goals and impossible tasks indeed.
Today begins another month in this pandemic and though we seem to be moving away from the worst perhaps, we’re still a rather long distance from anything that looks like normal, or at least what normal was just four months ago. But today is also the day that the Lord has made, and so I am choosing to be glad in it.
To be sure, I suspect that my watch is not going to go easy on me when I get up the courage to see what the “May Challenge” is. But whatever it tells me, I’ll give it a shot.
Just as long as I can go one foot at a time.