I watched the two women make their way to the entrance of the store, one taking small halting steps, the other taking more deliberately slow steps. Ever so painfully they inched toward the automatic doors and I could feel myself wishing they'd go a little faster, move a bit more quickly. I watched the younger of the two...maybe the daughter...firmly hold her mother's arm and very patiently wait for her. Step...step....step...until finally they were by the carts. I took a breath for them and remembered my own times walking by my mother. I had not been so patient with her. There were times my hurried steps had gone ahead and her little voice had to remind me to wait for her. "Please slow down" she would say, "I can't keep up with you", and I would hold myself back while my mind whirled ahead to all of the things I needed to accomplish. Please slow down.
In our Christian walk, God has placed us alongside individuals who may be taking faltering steps toward Him. He has given us the role of supporter and encourager and we are holding the arm of someone who might be a bit more fragile than we are, a bit more hesitant in their steps. We might be walking by them thinking in our minds, "I wish they would hurry up already and mature in this area or the other." "I wish they would quit fooling around and get a bit further down the Way than they are!" "Why do they keep on doing that THING that is so destructive in their lives or that THING that slows us down?" "We seem to have to revisit that same old spot again and again and again. I am then convicted of how often I have to revisit that same old spot again and again. Of how often I stumble on my Way and how the Lord picks me up and holds me fast.
I was reminded today, as I watched the patient younger woman walking with the frail older lady, to take time. Be patient. Lend an arm...an ear...a shoulder...and thank God that we are in a position of strength that we may help others. Listen to the little voice when it very quietly asks, "Please slow down....wait for me."
The Lord says....
Isaiah 41:10 Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.