Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Just Go As Far As You Can

Climbing a mountain doesn’t happen quickly. Indeed, it is a slow, laborious process which challenges the hiker’s strength, patience, resolution, and perseverance. And faithfully living out our lives for Jesus requires these same virtues.

The 14, 265 foot Mt. Quandary almost did me in last week.  In fact, there were several times that I decided I wasn’t going to make the top. There was no way. It was too steep, too far away. Yet I had made a vow to the Lord (and to Claire and especially encouraging friends like Dick, Pat, John, and Allen) that I would “go as far as I can.” And that vow I wanted to diligently keep.  So, I kept getting up after every rest, prayed for strength, and proceeded to go a little further.

My wish, of course, was to get to the summit.  But that wish, that hope wasn’t my immediate goal. No, my goal throughout that very difficult morning was only to get a bit higher, to be faithful to my pledge, to put one foot in front of the other for a wee bit longer.

You know, there's an important lesson there. For this is all that God asks of us in any test – not necessarily to be successful in how we might define success, but only to be faithful to do our best.  To obediently, keep on the course He has set before us and lean upon Him for strength, endurance, wisdom, and joy.

In a real sense, the journey is the destination.  It is all that He requires of us. It's the only thing we have to deal with for our success, our reward – those matters are all in His capable hands and set for His perfect time.  And what an assuring, comforting, even motivating force that can be.

That I did eventually make the summit of Mt. Quandary was a special gift of His grace, one which reinforced the lesson for me. One foot before the challenge at a time...simply doing what you can do. Then God works with our efforts to bring about blessings in our lives that are way beyond our own abilities. Sometimes they're even beyond our hopes.

So, please be encouraged, dear saints of God, to keep the Faith in whatever trials and tests the Lord has allowed in your lives. Anxiety, loneliness, illness or disability, loss of freedom, disappointment, a ministry without visible results, being wrongfully defamed, unjust treatment...whatever. Our Father merely asks you to hold onto His Hand, take one step at a time, and rest assured that His love and grace will take you into a glorious, victorious future.

Don't look at the mountain's peak. Instead, look immediately ahead, call upon His Name for help...and go just a bit further.