Let’s play a little game.
I have a puzzle for you. If you are playing a game and you move ahead 4 spaces, then next turn you have to go back 3 spaces, next turn you move ahead 6 spaces and your final turn you have to move back 4 spaces. Are you still ahead of where you started?
It appears that yes indeed you are still 3 spaces ahead of where you started. You are advancing, you are on the way to someplace different than where you started. Right?
Now, let’s look at life.
We start something, a diet, a project, a new job, a debt reduction plan, our Christian walk, it could be one of a million different things. Then when we get half way through it we get discouraged and frustrated because what we think progress is not happening fast enough.
Just because you are not seeing progress does not mean it is not being made. If we would take a moment to think about it, and be honest with ourselves, we are clearly ahead of where we started at.
We are an impatient lot aren’t we? A little arrogant too. The prevailing attitude is that if it can’t be done in MY time, I am not going to do it at all. Why do we tend to think that slow progress is no progress? A little or a lot, progress in progress.
A lot of the time, a little more effort and consistent effort and our goals will be met. However, discouragement grabs us and we throw what progress we have made away instead of plodding along and slowly moving forward. We don’t see that six steps forward and three steps backwards is still ending up ahead of where we started. I am willing to bet that in those backwards steps we learned some valuable lessons.
I think that our Christian walk is often like that. We have to slowly and sometimes painfully make our way to the Kingdom. It can take years, decades or a lifetime filled with ups and downs. A winding path can be enough to cause us to take our eyes off the prize. If we are no longer focusing on our destination you can bet we are focusing on the wrong things.
It is frustrating and hard. We have to remember that forward progress is forward progress. It is a good finish that we are after, the journey is not always going to be easy or pretty.
It is tempting to give up on living the Christian life because we are impatient and don’t see any progress, or not enough progress. Let Hebrews 12:1 be our motto, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Our Christian walk is intentionally meant to be an endurance event. It is an event that shapes us and makes us into what God means us to be.
Sure our Christian walk with have lots of meaningful and uplifting spiritual moments, but it will not be comprised entirely of good things. Neither will the times be all bad. Mostly it is about the everyday things, it is about each little step that we consistently take in faith no matter the circumstances.
…………….and so I ride