Last month I broke my old record with 5346 pageviews in one day. Granted that is highly unusual. My average runs 300-400, with an occasional spike of 1500-1800. But look back where I started—32 names. It has taken 8 years of hard work, truly a long term investment. I would never have made it this far if I had given up.
Life is made up of long term investments. Education, marriage, children, career, mortgages, stock portfolios, and many other things take years to show any profit, any growth, any benefit. In spite of our instant gratification society, most of us know this about life: some things are worth the time and trouble and the long, long wait, and many of us manage to avoid quitting.
Why do we forget that in our spiritual lives? We become Christians and expect overnight that our problems will disappear, that our temptations will cease, and that our faith will move mountains. Then reality sets in and instead of working on it, we give up. We go to an older, knowledgeable Christian and ask for help in learning to study, but after two or maybe three weeks of making the time to meet and finding the time to do the studies he assigns, we quit. It’s too tedious and we are too busy. We thought there was some get-wise-quick formula. It’s just the Bible after all, not rocket science.
It’s perfectly normal to have bouts of discouragement. David did: How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? Psalm 13:1. Asaph did: All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 73:13. I’ve tried and tried and gotten nothing for it! Why bother? And then they remind us to look ahead, because it is a long term problem with a long term solution. In just a little while the wicked will be no more…you guide me with your counsel and afterward you will receive me into glory. Psalm 37:10; 73:24. Sometimes the wait seems long, especially when we are suffering, but faith will be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him 37:7.
And if you are floundering a little, wondering perhaps if you will ever make it, if your faith will ever be strong, if you will ever be able to overcome temptation on a regular basis, give yourself a break. This doesn’t happen overnight. Are you better than you were last year? Did you overcome TODAY? That’s progress. Keep working at it. No one expects to lose 100 pounds in a week. Some of us have way more than that to lose spiritually.
The reward is worth the waiting. It is worth the struggle. It is even worth the tedium of learning those difficult names and the exercise involved in buffeting our bodies. But you won’t get there if you give up, if you say, “This is boring,” or “I’m too busy,” or “I can’t do it.”
I have many new friends because of something I started eight long years ago during a difficult time of life. I cannot imagine being without them now. I certainly don’t want to be without the Lord.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised, Heb 10:36.