I hit a wall of discouragement today. Slammed into it, to be exact.
Where did it come from? I’m not sure. I have no idea. I do know that a short interrupted night accompanied by little frustrations throughout the day seem to have added up to cause me to want to quit for the day. An irritating fever and cough. Unexpected bills. A call from the school (and not the good kind of call). Crazy work stress. A car that must get into the shop tomorrow. And our heat is out. The bill is paid, the gas is full, I don’t know why it is out. Someone from the church that we rent from is coming tomorrow to look at it. And I know that it is absolutely nothing compared to what those in the NE are experiencing. We have shelter. We have blankets. We are perfectly fine. We have absolutely nothing to complain about.
And yet, here I am, doing just that: complaining. And all that said, I am mostly irritated at myself. Especially in light of having just studied Romans 8:17 and reading this insightful post HERE. Why is it that we can get so easily bent out of shape by the normal difficulties that life on this earth throws at us? It’s been quite awhile since I’ve wanted to sit down and quit. It’s been awhile since I’ve been this goofed up. And angry at myself. It’s been awhile since I’ve wanted someone to tell me to hang in there, that they are proud of me. To be blessed. Told to keep going.
What do we do when we come to the end of a day such as today? We all have days like this. Days when the seemingly inconsequential trials add up and threaten to overrun. When the tears threaten to come. When the answer seems to crawl into bed and pull the covers over our head. How do we get from a whining state to a state where we can redeem the difficulties of the day by realizing or acknowledging that in this fallen, imperfect world we share in the sufferings of Christ? Not to say that in any way shape or form not having heat tonight is on par with the sufferings of my Christ. But rather it is the principle of the idea. If I can grasp the fact my Jesus suffered and died for my sins, then maybe I can see that my petty sufferings here on this earth are nothing–absolutely nothing–compared to what my Savior gave for me. And the trials of this life are nothing when compared with the weight of glory that is to come. But why do I forget this so easily? Why do I have to preach this over and over and over again to myself?
I know that the answer is scripture work, and so I’m digging into that tonight. And in so doing, I find myself pulled back to a familiar passage, a familiar theme for my life: Philippians 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Tonight I find encouragement, particularly in verse 12. I have not already obtained this. I am not already perfect. But Christ Jesus has made me His own. Christ Jesus has made me His own. I am adopted by my God, I am the daughter of God. I’ve studied this passage several times before, but I’ve never landed on this fact that I am His own. Tonight, I have no choice but to claw my fingers into this and hang on to it with everything I’ve got.
And what does it mean to “press on”? It means to not give up, to push forward. Even when I want to quit. Even when I want to go home. I am urged by Paul to press on, to strain forward to what lies ahead. Even when straining forward equates slogging through mud, like it does tonight.
In my search for the phrase “press on”, I came across a new use of it, found in one of the most important books of the Bible to me: Hosea. It is found in Hosea 6:3:
Let us Press On to know the Lord. Let us Press On to know the Lord. What an important verse. The dawn comes every morning. His going out is as sure as the dawn. The showers and spring rains come and water the earth; and just like these rains, He will come to us. He will come to me.
So what do we do? What do I do? I strain forward to what lies ahead. I press on to know the Lord. I go to bed tonight, trusting that God sees and knows, and I get up early tomorrow and meet with Him, recommitting myself to press forward, to press on for the sake of the high calling in Jesus Christ, my Lord.