When am I finished?

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. ~Newt Gingrich

Do you know Frank Sinatra’s famous song ‘High Hopes’ from the 1959 movie, A Hole in the Head? Sinatra encouraged his young co-star, Eddie Hodges, to keep his chin up and keep plugging on through bad times just like the hardworking ant.

Can an ant move a rubber tree plant? Not by itself, but maybe if it has some buddies. One scientist took a photo of an ant lifting 100 times its own weight!

Plugging away through troubles and disappointments is an admirable trait. Keeping your head above water in a storm is what we hope for. But it’s all easier sung than done.

Paul and Silas made it to Thessalonica and started teaching in the local synagogue. All went well, converts were made, and then the Jews got jealous and ran them out of town.

No problem. They headed off to Berea and had great success there teaching about Jesus. But those Thessalonians heard about it and made trouble in Berea as well.

Not to be deterred, Paul headed to Athens and began teaching in the public places there. Paul was quite an ant.

Because Paul knew that it wasn’t about moving the plant.

It was only about working as long as he had life.

Are you still breathing? Then pick up your plant and start moving. There’s work to do.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

I Don’t Like This Road

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought. ~Matsuo Basho

My mother gets terribly carsick. She has lived all of her life in curvy, mountainous West Virginia, and the sickness has never left her.

There are roads that she refuses to use because experience has taught her that she will have lunch twice, maybe three times. It seems unfair that she should never have relief.

It also seems unfair that she should have beautiful vistas at her every turn when others don’t have such sights. Their rear view mirror reflects dumpsters and street lights. They peer through windshields to see smoggy valleys and graffiti-filled alleys.

Everyone travels their own road.

Maybe that seems harsh to you.

You cry out to God, “WHY!?”

Why do I have to be deaf? Why is my child autistic?  Why does my husband look at other women? Why can’t I have a baby? Why don’t I get a good job? Why am I short, tall, black, brown, too thin, too fat . . .

But what if it is only the road that is making you sick? If you stop the car for a minute, do you see a beautiful vista on the horizon? Is there a sunset glowing over top of the smog?

Jesus asks us to walk down the Via Dolorosa with him, a road that leads to death. Will you go?

People will throw stones. There will be sweat, spit, and blood. Angry curses will be hurled your way. The rest of your life will be affected. Your friends may even turn their backs on you.

But you get to walk beside the Savior of the World. He knows your name and his eyes look into your soul.

It’s worth it, isn’t it?

What if the road you are on now is the one Jesus has asked you to travel? Your deafness makes you notice things that hearing people don’t. Your autistic son amazes you with his insight. You counsel other women, adopt a homeless child, learn to be content, even generous. Do you still want off? Will you still beg for another route?

Or will you idle the motor a bit and see what beauty surrounds you?

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 NIV