We’ll Stay With It
“We’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.”
Is there an area of your life that feels hard at the moment? March is a month that shines a spotlight on faithfulness. Even the word march sparks visions of soldiering on through the headwinds, heavy rains, and dark nights every person faces. We persevere in hard times because of trust—we trust that in the end, or in the process, we will discover something worth our effort.
Philip Yancey recalls a scene Eugene Peterson witnessed at his home on a Montana lake:
“Eugene recalled one winter when ice was still forming on the lake. A deer in search of water wandered out too far, and fell through the ice. He knew that if he tried to help, the deer would panic and swim even farther into the frigid water. For half an hour he watched helpless as the young doe thrashed around in the water, trying to gain some purchase on the ice shelf, which immediately broke under her weight. Finally, against all odds, she somehow hauled herself up on an edge of more solid ice, shook herself and stood there for a moment, her sides heaving, and then bounded up the slope toward freedom.”
What circumstances are threatening your faithfulness?
Hard times aren’t the only experiences that can threaten our faithfulness. Good times can too. The winds of fame and fortune can just as easily blow us of course. Pastor Jon Quitt reflects on how fame can sometimes threaten faithfulness, and on the faithfulness Eugene demonstrated in the face of such temptations:
It’s obvious he never sought fame. I think often of how he lived his life. Mostly because I have sought affirmation and notoriety. Yes, fame. It always feels empty when I get a taste of it. While he rarely wrote about recognition (a little bit in his autobiography, The Pastor), he did write relentlessly about faithfulness. His life of one wife, one church, one calling is a perfect picture of the faithfulness of God and his joyful submission to it. In the most poetic cadence he relentlessly invited us young pastors into the rhythm of preaching and pastoring and praying that required no special rubric or business acumen. It was the showing up that he kept encouraging.”
Are you facing hard times and headwinds? Hebrews 12 invites you to focus your heart:
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
Are you drifting aimlessly in the easy breezes of good times? Psalm 105 invites you to focus your heart.
Thank GOD! Pray to him by name!
Tell everyone you meet what he has done!
Sing him songs, belt out hymns,
translate his wonders into music!
Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs,
you who seek GOD. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for GOD, watch for his works;
be alert for signs of his presence.
Remember the world of wonders he has made,
his miracles, and the verdicts he’s rendered.
Whether you’re running against the wind or drifting contentedly in a pleasant breeze, God is present with you. And his presence will shed new light on the circumstances you’re facing today.
Posted monthly, The Message Reader provides insights into scripture from the many who have been personally impacted by The Message and the ministry and friendship of Eugene Peterson.