Have you ever grown tired in your struggle?
Weary of trying?
Wondered “why bother?”
It might shock some to know, I have.
Sometimes I’ve been tempted to give up praying that specific long-term request when I didn’t see the answers come forth.
Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard I try, I seem to be running in a two steps forward one step back kind of track, seeing too little progress for the amount of effort in an area of my life.
Some days I feel like I’m losing the battle in my efforts to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).
And then I realize…those questions and feelings are not mine. They come from my enemy who desires to thwart anything good that God wants to do in and through me.
Scripture encourages us, “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13 NIV). I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to suppose that if God, who inspired each word that was written in the Bible put that in there, He must’ve known we’d be tempted to get tired in the fight.
One of my favorite places in all the world is at the beach. No particular beach, just a beach with clean pretty sand and expanses of water. It’s the place I most feel at peace, and most clearly sense the still, small voice of God whispering in my ear. It’s the place I most easily succumb to His unforced rhythms of grace.
On our last family trip to the beach, I knew I needed rest. It had been far too long since I felt the sand in my toes or smelled the scent of the sea air. I had grown weary: My private practice was busy (a good thing, but even good things bring stress), I was finishing up my manuscript to send to the publisher, I’d just had 3 significant losses in a 6-week period, company that had come to visit left just a couple days before our trip, and I hadn’t felt well physically.
Both the good and bad stress were showing their effects in my mind, body, and spirit. I was overdue for a peaceful recharge. The beach was the perfect prescription. I committed to using that time away to rest, refresh and renew.
Each morning the Lord and I had a “date” to have a sunrise quiet time down on the sand. And each morning was different, neither the sky nor my heart were ever exactly the same as the mornings before.
One morning as I sat cross-legged on my towel, waiting for the sun to crest above the horizon rain clouds in the distance, a quick flurry of movement caught my attention. When I looked, there was nothing to be found. I returned my gaze to the increasingly lightened sky, until again movement caught my eye.
This time I saw it: sand flying out of a quarter-size hole on the beach. In between glances and photos of the sunrise casting its glow on the water, I spent a good half hour studying the daily life and work of a crab.
And then I wondered…”Does he ever grow weary of having to toss the loose sand, ants, and debris out of his home? If he could have rational thoughts, would he wonder why bother?” Instead, he just perseveres, doing what he knows he must do to survive. Toss the junk, keep the good.
What reward does he get? He’s left doing the same thing day after to day. But to not do what he is purposed to do, while he may still live, he wouldn’t thrive. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
That little creature taught me a lesson that morning on the importance of persevering: in my prayers, in my actions, in taking my thoughts captive. For eventually, we are promised to reap a harvest if we do not give up. And I suspect that harvest may just be what I sought after at the beach anyway: greater peace, joy, contentment.
Truly, Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
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