Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When All Seems Lost

The future can look very bleak sometimes. The sky may be filled with dark, ominous clouds that stretch from one horizon to the next so that there is no hint of the sun where you are. You may be staring down an obstacle so large that you have no idea where even to begin to overcome it, and help doesn't seem to come from any direction. You may have once been able to hear the voice of God whispering to you, telling you which way to go but now your ears are deaf and you can't hear anything from Him at all.  These are the moments when we may be tempted to give up, to give in, to quit fighting, to drop out of the race.

Maybe you've run for so long you don't think you have anything left. Maybe your muscles rebel at the very thought of going one more step. (Yes, we do have spiritual muscles, too!) Maybe it feels like the weight of the entire world rests on your shoulders, and the weight of the cross that you carry makes every step that much more difficult.  You'd like to rest, to take a break. It's hard not to envy those who sit on the sidelines. It's hard not to resent those who don't understand how difficult your walk is, or whose burden seems lighter than yours. All you want is just a moment where that crushing weight doesn't tear into your shoulders, and when the splinters don't bite into your skin like tiny nails.

These are the moments when you are so close to the finish line that if you could see it, you could reach out your hand and touch it. The only reason you are feeling so discouraged is because Satan knows what will happen if you reach it, knows what good will come if you achieve it, and he doesn't want you to have it. He wants you to quit, to give up, to give in, to let go. Don't listen. Keep going. The end is closer than you think.

I can't tell you the number of times that I worked hard for something, but my belief wasn't as strong as my fear that it wouldn't happen. I quit, gave up, only to find out weeks and sometimes months later just how close I was to achieving that thing that I had wanted so badly. It took too many times of this happening before I finally got the message: you're never closer to achieving what you want in life than in that moment when you think you just can't take another step.  Keep going. Fight through the pain. Remember: one breath beyond the cross lies paradise. What you want is on the other side. Don't give up. Don't give in. Keep up the good fight.  Remember that Christ fought this battle before you did, and He's there by your side fighting with you now.

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