Saturday, May 30, 2009

Growing Weary?

It is safer to stay where we are then to venture into the unknown. Have you ever thought that? Many people do. Who knows what is out there in the “unknown” (which is why they call it the “unknown”)? Things may be dull and boring here but at least I know what they are and, therefore, they are safe.

That was the attitude of ten spies who were sent by Moses to scope out the Promised Land when Israel had left slavery in Egypt. Yet two other spies – Joshua and Caleb – were captured by a vision of what could be if they had faith in God.

Some think faith is also an unknown, and therefore to be feared or rejected. But think about the Israelites. They were called to have faith in the God who freed them from slavery in Egypt, who parted the Red Sea, who dramatically gave them the Law and made a covenant with them at Mt. Sinai. They were called to have faith in God, with whom they have an intimate relationship and ample evidence that God will never forsake them!

Joshua and Caleb desperately urged Israel to follow them in their faith in God. But their voices were drowned by the fears of the other ten spies and Israel wandered for another forty years.

God had promised them that better things lie ahead of them but they bought into Satan’s lie that “nothing will change, it will be too hard and unsafe.”

As we continue our Journey of Faith it occurs to me that if we do not have the anticipation of better things ahead, we will have no heart for the journey.

Are you afraid of what lies “out there”? Don’t be! Because the God who is with us here is also out there, waiting for us, leading us to great adventures!

One of the most poisonous of all Satan’s whispers is simply, “Things will never change.” That lie kills expectation, trapping our heart forever in the present. To keep desire alive and flourishing, we must renew our vision for what lies ahead. Things will not always be like this. Jesus has promised to “make all things new.” Eye has not seen, ear has not heard all that God has in store for us, which does not mean “we have no clue so don’t even try to imagine,” but rather, you cannot outdream God. Desire is kept alive by imagination, the antidote to resignation. We will need imagination, which is to say, we will need hope.

It has been said that impatience, discouragement, and despair as the “noonday demons” that most plague the seasoned traveler. As our road through mission and ministry grows long we grow weary; impatience and discouragement tempt us to forsake the way for some easier path. The temptation is that we need to find the solutions to our financial challenges right now. Which means we give a little more, do a little more, attend a little more now, but give up after a couple of weeks. The mission and ministry that we have been given is not for a month or a couple of months or to the end of the fiscal year. It is for our lifetimes! Shortcuts never work, and the guilt we feel for having chosen them only compounds our feelings of despair.

We should be pacing ourselves for the long run. We can do this because God is here and God is there. He is here encouraging and strengthening us and God is there, out front, leading and urging us on!

(Parts of this taken from The Sacred Romance , by John Eldredge, pages 156–57)

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