“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
It’s been more than several months since I have put pen to paper or to be more accurate, fingers to keypad. It even brings on a feeling of consternation as I’m typing this now. You might say, I need a little courage.
I have missed blogging. I hit a wall a few months ago. A wall of STUFF, life stuff. Stuff that had me distracted. Some really good stuff and some just plain stressful stuff. For the past couple of weeks I have prayed about this very thing, blogging again. Should I Lord? Do you want me to? Do you still have something You want me to say?
Writing this blog might seem like no big deal but writing, blogging, is definitely not something I do by my own strength and so it’s a big deal to me. When you haven’t done something in a while, maybe even a few months, starting it up again can naturally raise a few fears in your mind. The fear of getting started, the fear of growing pains while becoming more proficient at your craft (whatever it may be), and of course the fear of not finishing, or not finishing well. I needed a little courage. So I had a talk with God and asked Him to show me what to do, what to write, if anything at all. I prayed and waited to hear God speak….and He did. He spoke louder than a fog horn, calling me from the thick cloud of busyness I’ve been lost in the past few months. And why should that surprise me? I asked didn’t I?
I’m here today to tell you just how powerful and amazing our God is. He speaks to us if we will just ask and sit still long enough to listen! He tells us to be strong and courageous and PERSEVERE through each season of life.
Last night my husband David and I watched the movie Courageous, made by the Sherwood film company out of the church by the same name located in Albany Georgia. It was an emotionally charged movie (between our head colds and crying ,we ran out of kleenex)!
The over all theme of the movie was being courageous, to finish the race and finish it well ( specifically being a Godly father to your children). What really struck me was how this little production company had come so far since their humble beginnings. Sherwood church has four films under their belt now. Each one has gotten a little better; each movie becoming more sophisticated in style, direction and production.
The Sherwood Production company started as a dream, a vision of bringing wholesome movies and the power of God’s Word to a media-crazed world. On the outside we don’t see the hard work and the struggles from their inception, (the brick walls that they encountered) but we do see the end result. This church has persevered and their movies have continued to develop in influence and gain support.
Sherwood Church and Sherwood Production Company prayed through the hardships and followed God’s plan. The name of their most recent movie represents them well. They are indeed Courageous.
So that’s it. That’s what I am to write about, the courage it takes to persevere and where to get that courage. The”stick to it ness” ( yes I made up my own word) you must have to make it through the hard stuff, the growing stage of any project, any talent, any job, or season in life. Steadfastness even when you can’t see the other side of the chasm that seems to lie between the start and the finish.
I have blogged on perseverance before and I wondered why God would put it on my heart again. But to drive home this theme for me, God spoke even louder.
Today I went to church with my son and what do you think the message from the pulpit was concerning? Yep, finishing well; persevering when you are in God’s plan. Pushing past the wall by keeping your eyes set on Jesus and nothing else. “Never will I leave you; never will forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. You might think this all mere coincidence (that I would hear this same message 3 times in two days). I think not.
The hard part of persevering is getting past the wide gulf in the middle (the chasm) of your particular life season. It’s when you have stepped out so far from the beginning but you still can’t see the end. You feel as if you are nowhere going no place fast. That’s the time to look straight ahead, not to the left or to the right. Just keep your eyes focused on Jesus and pray. He is standing there at your goal, your finish line.
Just recall Matthew 14:29 where the apostle Peter steps out of his boat and walks onto the water to meet Jesus. Everything goes well until Peter realizes the distance between he and his destination. Seeing the winds and waves around him, he becomes full of fear and sinks into the water. He was half way there. He was in the chasm and took his eyes off the One who could see him through. The next thing Peter knew he was drowning. Ever feel that way? As soon he cried out for help, Jesus reached down and pulled him out.
When I think of perseverance and courage, I think of my daughter-in-law, Whitney. She has given me an inspiring example to follow. She epitomizes steadfastness and my admiration for her determination grows daily. As a graduate in broadcast journalism, a top performer on the Indiana University dance team and NBA Pacers dance team she had everything going for her. She had set her focus on being a television sportscaster. She had what it takes.
Then the unexpected happened. In an instant all those dreams were crushed. On the morning of July 30, 2009 a car accident nearly took her life. She was in a coma for three months and hospitalized for over a year.
Today her injuries still keep her from doing many of the things she used to love to do. But that hasn’t stopped her for a minute. She has reinvented herself in front of a radio microphone. She works part-time as a disc-jockey at a local radio station where she lives. Her on air name, fittingly, is “Sunshine” and her raspy voice charms listeners. She works out daily and has regained her physical strength and fitness level. Though she continues to suffer from her injuries, Whit never complains. She’s not where she wants to be…yet, but she never gives up, and never gives in.
Whit has a new focus. It’s on Jesus. He helps her put one foot in front of the other one step at a time. He is the source of her strength. Jesus is taking Whitney through the chasm. She in a word, is courageous. The source of her courage and strength is her Lord.
I’ve heard it said that the way in which you finish each season of life will set the stage for the next. What season of life are you in? Is it the start of a new career, or a daily struggle with an ongoing illness or injury? Are you going through financial difficulties and fear what tomorrow may bring? Do you take care of a special needs child? Perhaps an elderly parent? Or maybe today you’re just trying to write a blog. Wherever you are in this marathon called life, may I encourage you to finish well by keeping your focus on The One and Only who gives us focus, Jesus. He is the power behind the courage to finish well.
“Joying” in the journey,
What does it mean to keep your focus on Jesus? Praying to Him (talking with Him daily, telling Him your needs and concerns). It means meditating on Christ’s character, whatever is true, noble, right, just, excellent, praiseworthy. It means getting to know Him through His Word, the Bible. Focusing on Jesus will grow your faith and your courage!