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About the Writer:
Joanne Sampl

With grown step-children, college age sons and a self-employed husband, Joanne offers her time to God and to others. Her interest in writing and communications brought her back to college as an adult and through several reinventions of her own business and ministries. With time on her hands, she writes about God and life.



Steps to Standing in Faith

By Joanne Sampl

What started as an ordinary back ache turned into a dramatic new way for me to learn how to stand again. Yes, I was hospitalized in great pain and grateful for the medications that pulsed into my bloodstream to relieve it. In the darkness of my pain, I talked a lot to God. I wondered how our Lord Jesus managed without a morphine drip to dull His dying pain on the Cross. I learned so much about the true love of Jesus and His true sacrifice for me while I felt the most excruciating pain of my life. “Would I go through this for someone else,” I wondered. “Would I go through this for my Lord?” Gratefully, the pain became manageable and I busied myself with other thoughts.

But it was with my first attempt at getting out of bed that I seemed to learn the most. The nurse assistant who worked on the orthopedic floor broke down the steps for me. I repeated them out loud as I stood for the first time after hurting my back.

  • Lift my body with my arms
  • Look straight ahead
  • Breathe
  • Allow for assistance
  • Steady myself before taking a step
  • Take one step at a time
  • Go slow and make each step deliberate

And, as I spoke them, each step revealed a spiritual insight to remember as well:

“Lift my body with my arms” reminds me about the power of God in Exodus 17, during one of the Israelites crucial battles. It took two men on either side of Moses to hold his arms steady so God’s power would win the battle. This day was a crucial battle for me, and I needed God’s power and His strength to steady me. Every battle I am in – whether physical, spiritual or emotional – needs to happen in God’s power and strength for me to succeed.

“Look straight ahead” is key to my posture as well as my hope. Pain changes my focus. I look down, look away, or sometimes even close my eyes when I am in pain. I can’t see my progress, where I am going, or recognize the new height I am reaching if I don’t look straight ahead. I often imagine the posture of the lame man Jesus healed in Mark 2. Without any strength of his own, he looked straight into the face of Jesus and stood. Without any strength of my own, I need to look straight into the face of Jesus to stand through the trials, the hardships and the devastating consequences that affect my life.

“Breathe” is a constant word picture of creation for me. God breathed life into Adam, and with every breath I take, I am reminded that God is my Creator, my Sustainer and my Source for Life. In the same way focused breathing through childbirth yielded two bundles of joy in my arms years ago, I use the same technique to remember that God breathes life into every person I value. Focusing on His breathing through my pain reminds me that God gives me everything I need to live.

“Allow for assistance” is admittedly difficult for me. But, this step reminds me that God didn’t put me on a desert island to fend for myself. Instead, He surrounded me with family and friends who get to carry on His personal love for me through support, encouragement and meeting practical needs. It took faith, courage and persistence of the lame man’s friends to carry him to the Lord for healing. It’s taken faith, courage and persistence of my husband, my family and my closest friends to carry me to the Lord in prayer every day through this trial. And, yes, many of them have helped me in very practical ways including fixing meals, vacuuming, running errands and countless other mundane tasks that needed to be done.

“Steady myself before taking a step” is a new discipline with powerful results. I didn’t realize how hurriedly I ran through my day until I hurt my back and had to start over. I was in the bad habit of bounding to my feet and heading in a direction simultaneously. I guess, spiritually I’d been doing the same thing. I’d say a prayer asking for the Lord’s help in a certain area while I was already stepping into the direction I thought I should be taking. It’s a deliberate choice to wait now, to pause before heading in a direction after standing to my feet or after kneeling before my Lord.

So now, “taking one step at a time” is getting a little easier both physically and spiritually. I realize the first person I need to be patient with is me. My pace for life had to slow up because of my injury, but it also needed to slow up for my spiritual life. I can’t rush myself now physically, without wearing out much more quickly and stirring up some kind of new ache or pain in the process. Spiritually, I’ve realized my hurried up faith also needs the slower pace. I need to take one step at a time in my faith, make sure I’m balanced and on even ground, and stop rushing the paces of my relationship with God and my time with Him.

“Going slow and making each step deliberate” helped me regain my strength for standing, for walking and for healing into a normal, effective life again. I’m back to work, back to the gym and even back to my favorite hobby of traveling with my husband. But, spiritually, I am on new ground. My pace is slower while I focus on His Creation and Power in my life. I take time to breathe Him in more through His Word and my time alone with Him. But, it is my posture that is the most changed. I can look straight ahead with faith. My eyes are focused on the Lord and His Love for me. I am never alone in my pain or circumstances, because He is my breath.


Copyright © August 6, 2007 – Joanne Sampl.. All rights reserved.


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