** For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds. ** Hebrews 12:3
Weariness of mind and body is a common ailment. Being worn out mentally, emotionally or physically can make us want to give up and hide away on our own imaginary secluded island.
But what are some of the reasons we run out of steam?
Every day we face problems and complications that push us out of our comfort zones. Every day we have to choose how we will deal with any unexpected situations. We can react to these situations by running here and there and everywhere, or we can stop and pray for wisdom and clarity and that the Lord will show us the way to walk through it. These two reactions will produce two different results.
Running headlong into a problem will most likely create more problems. Inviting the Lord to help us in our problems will slow things down and help us to see a clearer and simpler solution.
If we take a few minutes and think about the different characters in the Bible that are mentioned in Hebrews Hall of Faith in Chapter 11 and try to put ourselves in their place, we can find some clarity as well. The Lord gave us their examples to teach us and help us in our problems today.
Let’s look at Noah. Noah was given a tall order.
Build a boat. Tell others that rain is coming. And get all the animals inside the boat.
Can you imagine how hard a task all of that was? Build a boat? Had he even seen one before? Did he know how to build a boat? Did he even live near any water? The cutting of the wood for it was a giant task all by itself.
Tell others that rain is coming? Rain that will cover the earth? They didn’t even know what rain was!
Animals? All the animals? The big, the ugly, the smelly, the hairy and/or slimy ones? Did he even like animals?? Did his wife? Did she appreciate having them all up close and personal? Did she give her husband a hard time about all the smell and mess?
So how did Noah deal with these giant tasks?
One day at a time. For 100 years. One tree to chop. One tree to make into boards. One nail to connect one more board. One cubit long or high at a time. One floor and one chamber at a time.
Noah just followed God’s instructions one day at a time. And when people came to gawk and mock, he dealt with them one at a time, or one group at a time. He didn’t rush. He didn’t panic. He didn’t allow himself to get overwhelmed. He just trusted that the Lord gave him a task to do and he did it.
The New Testament tells us to:
** … run with patience the race that is set before us. ***
A sprint can be run in seconds. The runner gives all of his energy in one intense burst.
But our lives should be lived more like a marathon. If we try to run a marathon at full speed, or we don’t follow the course laid out by the sponsors of the marathon, we will never finish. We will run out of steam or we will lose our way. We will never reach the finish line.
Our title verse also tells us to consider Jesus. He is the One who faced the daily challenge of living among people who just didn’t understand what He was trying to say. People who couldn’t see the amazing gift that was right in front of them. The people that completely missed that they were standing face-to-face with their Creator.
Some people have said in their moments of frustration…” God, if you are real, come down here right now and show me that you are real!! ”
Well, from year 0 to year 33 AD He did! He was right there in front of them! He walked and talked and lived beside them and they were clueless! They still didn’t believe. They still didn’t grasp His Words.
Would we be any different from them if He came in person again, quietly, humbly like before?
Every day Jesus had to try and explain who He was and what His Words meant. Every day everyone went away confused and wondering what He was really trying to say. Even those closest to Him, His disciples, missed it! No matter what He said or what He did, they were in the dark.
Even though they did not recognize His value, every day Jesus chose to live the way the Father wanted Him to live. Every day He chose the Father’s ways over every thought or emotion or desire He had. And all around Him no one else did.
They chose themselves, and their own desires. They chose to follow their own paths. They walked away from Him when things got hard or scary or confusing. They said what they wanted to say, without thinking first. They reacted the way they wanted to react without considering how Jesus would react.
He must have felt disappointed. But instead of giving up, or wiping them all out or falling into discouragement, He just spent more time with the Father. He knew He had a task to complete and He also knew the only way He would be able to do it was with the Father’s help.
Old Testament patriarchs or New Testament Savior. Their answers were the same. Do what God gave them to do. One day at a time. One problem at a time.
So, how can you and I do the same thing?
We shouldn’t give up. We shouldn’t be discouraged. We certainly shouldn’t beat ourselves up. We can’t learn how to do well in every moment over night. We can’t try to learn it all or do it all today.
We just need to take one more step, that’s all. Just one more step. Send up one more prayer. Face one more tough situation.
Lastly, we need to remember that we are not doing it all alone. The Lord is right there with us. He wants to help, strengthen, direct, encourage, love and embrace us every step of the way. He will guide us through, no matter how hard the task is.
If we are tired, ready to throw in the towel, or our emotions and our energy are spent….consider Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. He was there the first moment of our salvation and He will be right there with us until the day we go to Heaven.
Don’t faint. Don’t quit. Don’t even let your mind go there!! Keep running your race, one step at a time.