Inch by inch, step by step (John 9)

“Inch by inch, step by step….” I don’t know what T.V. show, cartoon or ghost story used those words (does anyone know?), but I do remember my brothers and myself trying to scare each other with those words in post-bedtime whispers through the heating ducts. Presumably the boogie man was creeping closer by the second.

In John chapter 9, inch by inch, step by step, the man who was born blind came, not to a disastrous fright like my brothers and I were trying to orchestrate, but to amazing sight. First, he received physical sight step by step: Jesus spat on the ground and kneaded mud. Then Jesus spread the mud on the man’s eyes. After that, Jesus told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. (Couldn’t Jesus have done the healing with just one word?) While Jesus initiated and accomplished the healing of the man’s blind eyes, the man was apparently invited into one of the steps: to trust this healer just enough to make the walk to the pool and wash. The man followed directions and only then came back able to see. Inch by inch, step by step…

Our lives are like that though. Often change, particularly healing change, does not happen all at once. It involves steps, whether it be steps of taking tests and seeing physicians, or steps of honest conversations and processing forgiveness, or steps of studying new subjects in order to learn new skills. Sometimes, looking back, we can see how God’s grace was working all around us. Usually, though, somewhere in that miraculous process, God’s grace-initiated invitation invites us into a step of trusting Jesus Christ, inch by inch, step by step…

Perhaps we are being invited to take a step of trust today? If so, remember this: the Lord’s inviting grace has already been working to prepare the way for us to take this step and will definitely follow behind us with more grace.


  1. Those “inch by inch words” were from The Three Stooges, chasing each other,,,I think.