Friday, January 29, 2021

Will You Settle for "Return to Normal?"

Hey Friend,

"I just want things to return to normal," I heard the woman lament as she stood six feet in front of me in the grocery checkout line.

Her words rolled around in my head and I admit part of me longed for the "good old days" simply because I'm frazzled, weary, and my fuse has grown short. But, her words contradicted what I had just read in Hebrews during my early morning quiet time.

God told Abraham to pull up stakes in his cozy little hometown of Ur. Why? Because God was going to take him to a place, a land rich with milk and honey, which would be his ineritance. 

Abraham, being a God-fearing man, agreed. The Bible says that Abraham "Went out, even though he didn't know where he was going." (Hebrews 11:8). Before he got to the land God had promised him, Abraham lived through some hard times - in tents mind you. His worries were greater than, "Will I be able to get toilet paper and hand sanitizer."

I'm certain Abraham had many doubts, even regrets about leaving his comfortable way of living behind for this? Yet, he clung to God's promise He was taking Abraham to a place God himself was preparing for him. Though his heart may have wanted a "return to normal," Abraham fixed his thoughts on the good God had promised.

Noah lived in a time, not too unlike today, in which the days were evil. While everyone around Noah made merry and indulged in every sort of wickedness, Noah, in faith, listened to God. He built the ark, laboring day after long day, as onlookers called him a fool. He, too, had no idea where he was going or how long it would take to get there.

When the rains came and after many weeks cooped up with the stench of animal dung, Noah probably wished things could return to normal. Still, he clung to God's promise despite what his circumstances dictated.

As I read through Hebrews, one by one famous names of the Bible were called out for living by faith:

By faith Abel...

By faith Noah...

By faith Abraham...

By faith Sarah...

By faith Isaac...

By faith Moses...

By faith Rahab...

By faith Gideon, Samson, David, Solomon, Samuel, Mary...

They were willing to trade in what was comfortable, accept that the interim would be terribly hard, but they knew, by faith, that God would lead them to their promised land. They trusted that God was good.

Right now we are living in figurative tents in the wilderness. We are sick of eating manna everyday, and we long for what was. We're weary, worn, and overwhelmed by life. We don't like discipline and times of testing. It feels like God is shaking the earth to loosen the junk so as to see what of quality remains. It's so easy to slip back into the old way of doing things simply because it's comfortable. If we go back, what might we be letting go of that lies ahead?

My husband ran cross country in high school and college. If you've ever watched a cross country race, it takes perseverance, endurance, coping with agonizing pain and still pushing through. Some runners fall down or have to bow out along the way because the course is too grueling. 

The race we are running right now is grueling, but there is a glorious prize at the end. You don't even have to win the race, you simply have to finish.

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

What are you willing to endure to experience the joy that lies ahead?

What did Christ endure to provide a perfect eternity for you?

Does it make a difference that others are watching to see how you react and respond to our circumstances?

In the Book of Life, do you want your name to fill in one of the blanks?

By faith (Your name)...

So, will it be "return to normal," or set your sights on what's to come?

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you and thank you that you have promised me a mansion in heaven which you are now preparing. I can't wait to walk the streets of gold and fall with gratitude before you. Forgive me for my grumbling and lack of gratitude. Give me your sufficient grace to persevere through the wilderness and keep running the race laid out for me. Even if each day looks like putting one foot in front of the other with your praise on my lips, then I will give thanks. Help me to see the bigger picture - to look through your eternal lens. Keep my eyes focused on you. This world is not my home, I am but a foreigner passing through, but as I pass through, let my life be defined by my faith in You.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you? Might you share your answer to one of the questions above? What keeps you going through these grueling days?

Be blessed...

ps. I've been on hiatus while I completed a twelve week book proposal bootcamp through COMPEL by Proverbs 31 Ministries, but it's good to be back.  If you've enjoyed what you've read here today, might you want to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly blog (and nothing else).  Simply go to SUBSCRIBE above, enter your email address and then be sure to check your inbox. There will be a CONFIRMATION LINK YOU NEED TO CLICK TO CONFIRM YOUR SUBSCRIPTION. You can always cancel at any time.  Thanks for reading...

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would really LOVE to hear from you!! Your thoughts, opinions, suggestions and prayer requests mean a lot to me.