Why is it that just moving forward is sometimes the most difficult thing we do? Our feet feel like lead and our eyes look everywhere but ahead. Distractions beckon us from every direction and we quickly lose the enthusiasm we once felt for the goal that lies just steps beyond. Days ago, maybe weeks or months ago, we were zealous to reach the pinnacle, but now we are willing to settle for where our feet have landed and even ready to turn around and head back to the place from whence we have come.
Something deep within us stirred a dormant flame and ignited a sleeping passion – a desire to accomplish something new for the Lord, a longing to develop a forgotten gift or talent, a compulsion to reach out to someone who is hurting or lost, a refreshed resolve to do better at a particular spiritual discipline, or a vision to build something new and meaningful into the fabric of our lives. There is a goal. There is a dream. And there is the momentum to move us forward.
But the trail that leads toward success, toward the very goal that we feel strongly was given to us through a divine call, has been much more difficult than we bargained for. Not only has the hike been mostly up hill, but it has included rocky patches, trail sections overgrown with bothersome weeds, and places where the trail was almost not discernable due to the fact that few had gone that way before.
In fact, the path has also been lonely. At one time there were friends or interested persons cheering us on. They seemed equally enthusiastic about our mission. But looking around us now, we don’t see them. Where did they go? They haven’t necessarily abandoned us out of disdain for what we are doing. More likely, they have simply become more engrossed in their own journeys and we are now far from their cheering voices. We are on our own. Or so it feels.
Of course, there are also the dangerous situations we’ve encountered on the trail. The times when we could almost swear that someone was out to get us, out to keep us from reaching the top. An enemy? Hmmm. Whether we came face to face with true danger or simply felt that daunting inner warning telling us something like “you’re not equipped for this” or “you’re not really cut out for this” or “who do you think you are,” an enemy has certainly sought to destroy our resolve.
That’s where I’ve found myself recently. Perched on a crevice of decision – a place where I must choose to either turn back to a place of greater comfort, stay right where I am in a sort of halfway place, or move on with determination toward my goal. Quite truthfully, turning back to the place from which I’ve come holds no allure for me at all. I’m not usually one to go backward. But setting up camp at this in between place holds some appeal. It’s pleasant enough here. I’ve accomplished some degree of my original pursuit. I’m further along than I was just months ago. What’s wrong with just enjoying the view from midway up the mountain?
What’s wrong with it is that this is not what God has called me to. This was not the goal, the destination. To settle here would be disobedience. And while it might feel comfortable for a while, it would surely grow old and unsatisfying before long.
So I will move on with this, my newest memory verse, pressed close for encouragement and stamina: