On most Sundays after church, Lydia and I eat lunch and discuss what we learned or did that morning. This week was no different, except, Lydia couldn’t quite recall what Bible story she learned in her class that day.
“Hmmm…let me think…” she said. “Well, there were two girls and a boy.”
That really didn’t ring a bell for me! So I asked Lydia to explain more.
She said, “Um, one girl lived really far away. And, she decided to go home. Then, the other girl told her, ‘Well, I won’t leave you here.”
Lydia continued, “And she told the first girl, ‘So how about I just go with you?!’”
I laughed with realization, and half-guessed, “Oh, are you talking about Ruth and Naomi?!”
“Yeah… I think so…” Lydia went on, “And then there was a boy too…” She couldn’t remember anymore details about him!
I loved Lydia’s little paraphrase and the details she focused on. I gave her a quick overview of Naomi, Ruth, Boaz, and Baby Obed. Then, with motherly emphasis, I told her,
“Think about how much Ruth would have missed if she had given up!”
Instantly, I also sensed a lesson for me too.
My circumstances are vastly different, but I understand how difficult it might have been for these two ladies to consistently make good decisions, move forward, and trust God. I’m sure it felt like the odds were stacked against them.
Generally speaking, Lydia and I do well most days. But there are days and seasons when we struggle. The pressure to quit tends to go through cycles, and my determination can wane.
Mostly, these are normal challenges we all face…one way or another.
Of course, it’s often easier to procrastinate or abandon a time-consuming project, than stick with it and see it through. It’s hard to hold onto dreams or goals that take a lot of effort…when it takes forever to see results.
I have found most ‘God-projects’ take awhile, though…and are worth it.
It’s also easier as a parent to give in to your child’s demands, rather than stick with the appropriate discipline. It’s another long-term commitment!
But the constant pressure of these challenges can quickly wear me down.
We may have unique struggles, but all of us can feel discouraged and defeated at times.
Some days I go ‘on my merry way’ and everything just works out just fine. But on tough days, it can be tempting to run away (ignore the problems altogether) or run ahead of God (try to fix the problems on my own).
Still, there is a hidden blessing when challenges come.
Yes, that’s when I most remember I need God’s help. In fact, I can be thankful for those times, too, because they help me draw near to Him! When I want to run and hide, let me run to Jesus!
As we come to Him in our weakness, He infuses us with His strength.
The Lord might move in my situation…or He might move me. But I need to let Him make the decision…not me! As I stand firm and wait for Him to act, He prepares me for greater things:
As I cling to Jesus, He refines my character and makes me more like Him. The Lord is faithful. Whatever happens, He will work it out for my good and His glory!
There’s waiting, and then there’s waiting well. While I wait, I can:
Pray for wisdom, grace, and perseverance.
Seek God’s input first. Then ask for outside help, if needed.
Focus…and refocus…on Jesus. He’s the ultimate goal!
Commit my steps to Him. Trust Him for perfect timing.
Remember: I can do difficult things!
Have a good attitude, and make lemonade!
Jesus, thanks for Your grace and strength. Instead of running away or running ahead, help me to run directly to You, Lord. Help me not miss all the good things You have planned for me! Help me persevere. In Your Name, Amen.
Questions: What difficult circumstance(s) are you facing now, that make you want to give up? How can you wait well, with patience and perseverance?
Tasks: Write down your dream or goal. Then, consider what is at stake if you give up. Memorize Philippians 4:13, or another favorite Bible verse.