Archives for posts with tag: victory

runaway

 Jesus promised that in this world we will have trouble, and some days that trouble is just more than I have the strength or wisdom or patience or desire to deal with. When I consider the difficult or unpleasant situations and relationships of my life, running away seems like such an attractive option. The grass is always greener in someone else’s world; pretending that I don’t have problems is so much easier than actually dealing with them. And there are so many ways to run! Busyness and escapism can separate me from the situation or the relationship, and I can pretend it doesn’t affect me.

 But when I run away, the problem doesn’t follow suit. Sometimes it festers and becomes worse. Sometimes it just eats away at my joy and peace. But it never disappears.

 God does not allow his children to run away from Him or anything else; He insists that they confront their fears, their enemies, their failures, and their past. Over and over in the Bible you see various ones try (unsuccessfully) to run away. Over and over you see God lead them back to deal with what they tried so hard to escape from. Hagar ran away from a contentious relationship with Sarah; God saw her in the wilderness and told her to go back home. Jacob stole his brother’s blessing and ran away when Esau promised to kill him; twenty years later God led Jacob back home to make peace with Esau. Moses committed murder and ran away from Egypt; forty years later, God sent him right back to Egypt. Elijah successfully defeated the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel, and then promptly ran away from Jezebel; God followed him until he stopped running, fed him, gave him rest, and then told him to get back to work. Jonah didn’t like the task God gave him, so he tried to run as far away as it was possible to go; God sent a fish to bring him back, and repeated his instructions for a fresh start.

 Running away is a sign of defeat, and God empowers his people to have victory. When I run away, people don’t see the power of my God; they see my weakness. When I run away, I can’t see how God is at work in that situation. When I run away, I prove that I don’t trust God to work in me or through me for victory; what oppresses me controls me.

 There are times when we need to intentionally withdraw from a situation to allow the heated emotions to settle. Jesus walked away from the crowd that wanted to stone him in Nazareth because it wasn’t yet time for his sacrifice. Withdrawing to wait for a more opportune time to stand firm can be a good thing. There may even be a time when we need to leave a relationship behind because the other person may not be receptive to God’s activity and healing. Jesus told the disciples that if a town didn’t accept them, they were to shake the dust of that place from their shoes and move on. Often, Jesus intentionally withdrew to a quiet place in order to be in his Father’s presence, to gain insight into his Father’s will for that situation on that day.

 But running away is not an option. We can intentionally leave, or we can intentionally stay. Whatever God calls us to do is the only option that will bring resolution and allow our circumstances to improve or to permanently leave our problems behind.

 

summit 2
“The degree of satisfaction is directly proportional to the degree of difficulty. The harder the climb, the sweeter the summit.” – Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker

I love watching people who are really good at what they do – do it. Olympians inspire me; those who win the World Series or the Superbowl or the World Cup or the Masters are often overcome when they finally see that they have won. Believing in and working for a goal are a lot harder than having the medal hung around your neck. We celebrate the win, but we almost never see the years of tedium and sacrifice that precede these victories.

I would love to hear your answers:
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Why was it hard? Why did you do it?

Most of us will never hold a national title or wear an Olympic medal. But our summits may be even more consequential. Choosing to love people who are difficult, ignoring what is easy and fighting for what is right, refusing to give up our faith when life is hard or unfair or painful are the price we may have to pay for victory over our circumstances. Holding fast to what you know is good and right is so much harder than giving in to mediocrity and convenience. But for some it may look more like keeping a job, staying away from alcohol or drugs, or finally getting a diploma. The sweetest victories are those that required the very best in us, and bring us to a new beginning.

Those who attempt only what is easy never achieve much of any significance. The view and the celebration are at the top, but you can’t get to the top without the climb. Too often we choose to take the easy way out and rob ourselves of the view at the end of a struggle. May you never miss a celebration or an incredible view because you were unwilling to make the journey.