The life that is lived without regard for the Creator and His purposes, is the easy road. It is all down hill. Striving to live on the “straight and narrow way” might seem like it ought to be easier, without space and meandering curves to wander. But when you are intent upon reaching higher ground, climbing is a given. And that is what the Christian life is like. Have you ever had to bear a burden until your muscles burned and trembled? Sometimes in the Christian life, we begin to tremble under the strain of going against the flow. It is not an easy life, and anyone who tells you different, is either mis-informed, mis-led, or lying. We live in a world that is mostly “overcome by evil” and yet we are not to allow ourselves to be overcome by that evil, but rather to overcome evil with good.
Remember Moses holding up his staff against the Amalekites in battle? (Exodus 17) Remember the priests standing in the Jordan holding the ark so the Israelites could cross the Jordan? It was the power of God that brought the victory over the Amalekites, and it was the power of God and His very presence in the water with them, that held back the waters of the mighty Jordan river, but Moses’ arms physically fatigued and faltered to the degree Aaron and Hur had to hold his arms up. Do you think the priests might have trembled, bent under the weight of the ark, and the sheer emotion of what was taking place, as thousands of Israelites made that crossing of the Jordan. Do you think they may have thought, “hurry, would you, I don’t know how much more of this I can withstand” as women with toddlers and babies, elderly, and dawdling wide-eyed children made the crossing in wonder, staring up at the massive wall of water rose beside them, fish still swimming in it?
Sometimes we feel like God might just have forgotten what we are made up after all. We think that He is maybe a tad oblivious of what it means to be human, He being God and all.
We have to make a conscious decision with each new mile of the climb, to keep pressing on our upward way. People often take pride in their work ethic. There are people who, rather than embrace the instant gratification of obtaining things they want on credit, persist in working hard and little by little, putting away the money for the future day they have enough to pay for the item they want or need. There are people who persist in building up their career, consistently putting in their time and effort over the years. That kind of diligence grows more rare all of the time, but there are still those who operate that way. The Christian life is that way, only to an even greater extreme because the things we are striving for don’t even come to us in this life. That’s faith! Working toward a payoff that doesn’t pay off during our Earthly existence.
Faithfulness is not measured in how many days we go to church each week. I don’t think it is measured in how many different positions we fill in the church. Sure, yes, it is important that there is someone who is willing to minister to the children, clean the bathrooms, sing in the choir, play the piano. But I think God pays attention to how we relate ourselves to Him most of all, and in the day-to-day. Do we think of Him when we are going about our business? Is He the companion by our side in our job, and do we turn to Him for guidance as we would a mentor or person who is training or orienting us on our job? Do we go about our duties in the home as if He lives there with us, because He does, you know?
Whatever you are facing today, whether it is vacation and there is not much pressing, or whether you are up against a deadline, or just came through a major trial and are just hoping to catch your breath before the next one hits, or whether you are just doing good to keep going like that slow old tortoise, if you are trembling and doubtful and not at all convinced as to how much longer you can keep at it, Remember God is really the power that propels you. The obstacles and hurdles of this life are nothing in the overall scheme of things, and God doesn’t expect anything more than you have to give, and will help you through, over, or out from under where you are this moment.
The only way you can really fail is to stop striving. Don’t think of how long you have already been at it. Don’t bother to speculate on how much further you have yet to go. Keep your eyes on the immediate, and get through this day by trusting in the Lord and not leaning on your own understanding or perspective. Try to “spin” your perspective to line up with God’s eternal one. Rejoice. Praise Him because He is worthy of our praise. Tomorrow’s troubles will take care of themselves. Rest a moment if you must, and wait upon the Lord to renew your strength. Then fix your inward eyes on Him, and carry on. Before you know it, we’ll be crossing Jordan.