On the eve of preaching this message, I wanted to spend all day just preparing. Instead, I spent hour after hour, including two trips to the hardware store, to clear a clogged drain. It wasn’t pretty. And it was a reminder to me of the gap that sometimes exists between:
- The ideal life we want.
- The real life we live.
We want life to be exciting. We want mountain tops. We just don’t want valleys.
But today I want to celebrate some unsung heroes today… those of you who trudge onward.
When you don’t feel “blessed.”
When things aren’t getting fixed.
When your feelings aren’t improving.
When you’re tired. Weary. Worn out.
When you’re discouraged and depleted.
An overlooked passage of scripture that speaks to this is written by the aged, exhausted King Solomon who spends twelve chapters of Ecclesiastes telling us how repetitive, monotonous, and mundane life can be. The point of the book seems to be, what’s the point of it all?
But then you come to the very end of the book and you get this…
Ecclesiastes 12:13 NRSV
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone.
Know who else trudged onward? The Apostle Paul. And he wrote about it…
Colossians 1:24-29 NRSV
 I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.  I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,  the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints.  To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.
EVERY TIME YOU CHOOSE TO TRUDGE ONWARD…
1. You represent the story of Jesus faithfully.
Jesus trudged onward through suffering, persecution, false accusation, abuse, desertion, abandonment, and ultimately the crucifixion. We can’t add anything to that, but we can suffer with a kind of strength that draws the attention of other people to the “why” behind our willingness to do so.
2. You make a difference in the lives of other people.
Maybe the “blessing” isn’t for YOU but for someone else.
Maybe the “blessing” isn’t for NOW but for later.
3. You experience God’s supernatural empowerment.
For anyone today who is in the midst of the valley… even if you feel like you’re walking through hell, keep walking!
Imagine the change you can make in the world when you bear testimony of having gone through hell and back again.
Photo by Massimo Sartirana on Unsplash.