This morning a picture formed in my mind. Those of you who know me know that I am very visual. I learn so much better when I see it, and a picture is really the best way to see. Naturally, my mental images of spiritual things cannot help but be inadequate. My brain simply cannot fathom the true depths of God, spiritual growth, and eternity. But, I’m so thankful for the glimpse those pictures show me!
This morning I was thinking about salvation and my ongoing testimony, as that is what we have been discussing in the Wednesday night youth class at church. As I thought, I began to see a picture of a staircase in my mind.
The first step was salvation itself. Once on that step, all else faded away because that way – the way of Jesus Christ – was the only way in existence now. I was secure on those steps, and that security let me know that I would reach the top and spend eternity with God, no matter how far I had to climb.
I pictured myself standing on that first step, looking up. My young self could see only a few steps in front of me. Some were short, shallow steps. Others were higher or deeper. The highest step I could see, only a few steps beyond my own, actually looked more like the end of the staircase. I could not see its full depth, but I could see no more steps beyond from that vantage point.
But there was more than just the steps in front of me. There was an enticing gift on the step right above mine. It was beautiful, and I knew that it belonged to me. I stepped up and took it. I opened it, and what I found inside was amazing – more understanding of God!
Suddenly my eyes could see a gift on the next step! And, although they were rather faint, I could tell there were more gifts on the visible steps above me. I continued climbing, and continued learning until I realized I was at the top of what I had been able to see from that first step. I made an interesting discovery on that step, though. I saw that I was not at the top, but instead was on a landing of sorts and the gift here was big. It would take me a little longer to navigate the landing, learn to delight in the gift, and move to the next step. But, the next step was still there, waiting for me.
Some days the steps before me were exhilarating. I could not wait to take the next step and open the next gift. The more I looked back at the steps behind me, the more I anticipated the learning that was ahead of me. The thought of the journey gave me strength.
Then there came the other days. Those were the days when the steps ahead of me loomed in overwhelming fashion. The step I was on had been so hard to achieve and even harder to cross. The gift had been worth it, without a doubt, but I was tired. Another step? Then another and another with no end in sight? No, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t!
But I climbed the next one anyway. I kept pressing onward and upward. And the rewards continued to be great.
I am still on that staircase. As I climb it, two things remain constant.
I am never alone on the stairs. I can look to my right and left and see companions. I can look below me at all of the steps I have already climbed and see those who are following behind me. I can see those who are ahead of me as well. We call out to one another and encourage each other. Sometimes we reach out and give one another a hand. It is amazing how I can stand on my step and still help those behind me and be helped by those in front of me. But, most incredible of all, I know Jesus Himself is there. He is the source of my strength to climb each step.
The more I climb, the more determined I am to climb further, stronger, faster. I see what I have learned. I see all of the gifts I have received. And I want more! When I started, I had no idea how much there was. Even now I have only scratched the surface, but I see so much more than I did then. Oh how I want to learn!
This is the staircase of Jesus Christ, and there is no other like it. None other will provide such gifts – nor such challenges. None other will lead to such growth. None other climbs to eternity with God. Are you on the staircase with me? If so, I’m thrilled to be climbing with you! If not, my heart aches for you to join us! Grab my hand and I’ll help pull you on. You won’t regret it!