I don't know if you've ever driven across the United States, but it's something you want to think twice about, it is a long haul. Now how about riding a bicycle across the United States? That's what my friend Scott did when he was a college student with a group called Wandering Wheels. That's a lot of wandering! Scott said he was excited about the idea until the day the leaders displayed a map of the whole country on the side of their chuck wagon. It looked, in a word, impossible. But they started on this Mission Impossible anyway. Each day, they'd get up and just start riding again. "So he took it a day at a time, then?" No. Scott said when the riding really got tough and his legs were just about to go on strike, he would just aim for that next telephone pole. And pretty soon, he said, that huge map got conquered, one telephone pole at a time!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Cinch by the Inch."
Maybe right now you're looking at a challenge that looks nothing less than overwhelming.
Raising that child, getting through this valley, tackling this massive project, this overwhelming load, conquering this deeply entrenched sin. I don't know what it is, but I think I know the feeling that goes with it. It's not unlike my friend looking at the map of a huge piece of ground and wondering how he would ever get through it and fighting discouragement and even giving up.
It's also not unlike the challenge that faced God's ancient people when they looked at the map of the Promised Land God said He was going to give them, if they went in and took possession of it. In Deuteronomy 7:17, God says, "You may say to yourselves, 'These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?' " That "how can I?" question looms large when we're looking at the whole challenge.
Our word for today from the Word of God is in that same chapter, Deuteronomy 7:22. God in no way denies the size of the challenge, barbarian tribes, walled cities, overwhelming odds, but here's what He says, "The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little." How? One little victory at a time. Or one telephone pole at a time!
Remember, this is the same Lord who tells us in Deuteronomy 33:25 that "your strength will equal our days." No strength for tomorrow but, all the strength you need for today. Start running ahead emotionally to tomorrow and you're on your own without His grace for that day. And you may just stop riding. This is our God who gives us mercies that are new every morning, fresh manna for that new day. This is Jesus who calls us to take our cross daily, 24-hour chunks, one at a time.
2 Corinthians 4:16, tells us that He renews us day by day, and He supplies our needs with what that day requires. You remember, "give us this day our as in daily bread."
My wife loves to quote this little management slogan she heard, "It's hard by the yard. It's a cinch by the inch." Then she tacks on her original P.S. - "And it's a trial by the mile." My cross-country bike rider would agree with that.
So if you're looking at the whole trip and feeling overwhelmed, intimidated, paralyzed and afraid, don't look at the whole trip. The trip is God's problem. The big map is His concern.
Your job is just to get to that next telephone pole.