Stay the Course

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (1)

Gentle Reader,

Often we think in detail, forgetting to consider the big picture. We get wrapped up in the dailyness of our lives, often halfway convinced that we are never going to actually get through this specific 24-hour cycle. In the back of our minds, there is occasionally a sense of wonder at waking up again the next morning.

In short, we have massively skewed perspectives, most often focused on our belly buttons.

After all, are we not each the center of the universe? Isn’t that where our conflict comes from, as we bounce off each other and offend the notion that “I” am the most important?

Today I want to take a wide-angle view. Usually when speaking about a faith journey, we hear stories of specific times when God stepped in with grace, strength, protection, conviction, etc. While these stories are special and important, they often distract us from the larger course of life. For those of us without “exciting” testimonies, we often wonder if God has ever worked in our lives at all.

This summer is my fifth wedding anniversary. Next summer is my ten-year high school reunion. As I reflect on all that’s happened in between, I amazed not at the details, but the flow. When has God stepped in to give me strength? To give me grace? Protection? Conviction? Help?

I can only answer that with another question: when hasn’t He?

God is always there. He is always working. He called to me and drew me in even as I was determined to go my own way the first time I went to college (you do read that correctly). I worked for a newspaper, got my heart broken several times, made wonderful friends and had experience that I will never forget – but all of these pale in comparison to the knowledge that God had not forsaken His pursuit of me even as I had turned from Him.

Stay the course.

When I despaired of His existence as my husband sat in a hospital lobby sobbing, He was there. He gave me what I needed to adjust to being the wife of a clinically depressed husband before I even knew I needed something from Him.

Stay the course.

When we leaped into buying a house too soon and wondered how we’d make the payments, He calmed our souls.

Stay the course.

We we walked through the fire of testing and learned to be obedient even when it meant losing friends, He strengthened our resolve.

Stay the course.

When I wanted to drop out of school two weeks ago and felt so worthless and stupid, He issued a stern but loving warning to me through His Scriptures.

Stay the course.

When I wake in the morning, stumble to the bathroom, see the bags under my eyes and wonder just how it is that I am going to make it through one more day when I feel so unendingly sick, I pray, “All right, God. You know me. You know what I have to do today. You’ve got to get me through.” And He does, every time, with just enough energy for me to do what is on His agenda. I am slowly learning that, when I feel burned out, it means I’m not supposed to be doing it.

Stay the course.

Over and over again, those words ring in my  mind. Keep walking. One foot in the front of the other. Even if all I take is one half-step in the course of a day, it’s God-engineered and enabled progress.

His consistency and faithfulness swell my heart and reduce me to whispered praises. He is never not there. He is never not available. The problem is never with God, but with us. We don’t ask. We don’t seek. We go our own way and try to deal with life in our own strength – and then we’re amazed when can’t.

Can I remember a time when the Lord was giving me strength?

How about right now, as I prepare to go grocery shopping? How about this afternoon, when I get a haircut? How about tomorrow, when I clean the house? God is not only interested in the big events. He’s there, every day, in every moment, in every place. He stays the course.

All we have to do is follow, dwelling in the shadow of the Strong Tower.

Signature

Photo Credit: Scott Webb

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