I listened to a sermon today on the Hope we have in our future destination of Heaven. The glory that is the resurrection—that we have a God who sent His Son who lived a perfect life (which we cannot), died for our sins (a penalty we could not deal with on our own), and then was raised to life again. It is this truth that anchors the Christian faith and allows those who bear the name of Christ to hope even admist ongoing sin and suffering this side of heaven.
I love this truth.
When I cannot seem to shake the sin that entangles me…
When suffering makes me anxious to the point of sleepless nights and erratic heartbeats, or pain so immense, a sob simply isn’t enough.
Then, I long…
I long for heaven.
It is a promise for which someday, this pain will end.
I will say, I hit a point this summer, where I got mad about this glossy truth. I got mad at the perpetual state of patience my heart is supposed to have as I wait for what will be.
I am weary.
My friends are weary.
My clients are weary.
The whole world groans.
I don’t doubt God’s goodness like I used to.
I don’t doubt He is in control.
BUT, sometimes it feels like He is late.
I don’t wait well.
I am validated on the regular by psalms like Psalm 13 that say How long, O Lord repetitively.
I have Be Still, on my wrist, reminding me of the truth of Exodus 14:14 that the Lord is fighting for me and my job is to rest in His provision.
Exodus 14:14 The Lord God will fight for you, you need only to be still.
When my dearest hope is a far-off land flowing with milk and honey, I just want to fast-forward to the finale. And yet, I am still here.
There is breath in my lungs, fire in my eyes, and strength in my legs.
So, I must keep going.
I am encouraged by our biblical big-brother, Paul, who in Philippians talks about the push-pull he felt between heaven and earth. He desired to depart and be with Christ (Phil 1:23), and yet He saw the tasks ahead of Him. His ministry was not done. He knew that when His work was complete, the Lord would take Him home. And until then, He did the next good thing. He banked on the authority of Christ continuing to keep his heart beating and lungs full of breath, to love well the people He put before Him.
So, I endure because there is breath in my lungs.
And I continue because there is work ahead of me…
But what about the fatigue?
My counseling team is currently reading through a book called Gentle and Lowly. I was encouraged this week as the author described the ongoing work of Christ.
For some reason, I have always thought Christ was just hanging out. I believe Him when He said, It is finished. And I kind of picture Him sipping pina coladas next to God, chilling out. But according to Ortlund, and more than that, the Bible, Jesus continues to work. He works in us and through us.
Hebrews 7:25 He always lives to make intercession for them.
Where Jesus’ life and ministry and death on the cross bought Him forever all that are called children of God, His life and ministry now continues as He applies the balm of ongoing sanctification in the moment-to-moment application of our faith.
“Christ’s heart is a steady reality flowing through time. It isn’t as if his heart throbbed for his people when he was on earth but has dissipated now that he is in heaven. It’s not that his heart was flowing forth in a burst of mercy that took him all the way to the cross, but that has cooled down now, settling once more into kindly indifference. His heart is as drawn to his people now as ever it was in his incarnate state.”
Jesus is so not like me.
I run tasks like sprints.
I can be faithful in lots of things, for a little while.
When it comes to saving for the future, working hard on the job, loving my friends faithfully, or stewarding my body…
I can do it—for a bit.
And then I get tired.
I go back to ways that are not characteristic of the true, redeemed me.
I run out of steam.
But Jesus isn’t like me.
His love poured out on the cross was not all of it.
His love continues for us, and He is fighting for us and with us until He brings us home.
It is His heart towards us that is our fuel.
I believe I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
That dang word, again.
And while I wait, I am going to geek out on the way God ordered His Word.
It is not mustering courage.
It is not an enduring characteristic of courage God expects of His children.
He tells us to take courage—I am assuming from Him.
He provides it.
It is His supply, not mine.
So, managing my fatigue means I take from the Lord.
I rely whole heartedly on His power in me to keep going.
Just as God breathed life into Adam in the garden, I imagine Him doing so for me,
Day by day.
As I awake from sleep, shower and put on clothes for the work before me.
I imagine Him breathing life into me.
Enough for the day.
And then again, the next.