The day was cool when we began our hike, and the walk to the waterfall was mostly downhill, but our trip back was in the broiling noon day sun. Uphill. Each person in our group motivated him/herself to keep going in a different way. Dan chose shade trees as his goal. Every time he saw one in the distance, he would quicken his pace to reach it and rest a bit. Vilma plowed ahead whenever she saw a pretty plant or butterfly to study. I preferred not to stop at all, thinking about the cool drinking water that was waiting for us at our destination.
Many of you know that I’ve been struggling to complete the manuscript for the Wesley devotional book in Portuguese. The main part was finished in December. Checking and rechecking the hundreds of footnotes, however, has been tedious and I’ve been dragging my feet more than ever. But last week, when we received a phone call from a publisher interested in the book, I finished all the footnote and formatting issues in 2 days. Talk about motivation!
The Bible talks a lot about perseverance. It promises rewards for the faithful, not just in heaven, but on earth. Scripture reminds us of this over and over, but in the haze of problems, disappointments, and setbacks we sometimes forget God’s promises. Romans 8 says that God is for us no matter who is against us. Exodus 15 tells us that He can make our bitter waters sweet. He enables unshakeable joy and unfathomable peace. (John 16:22, Phil 4:7) This is much more than “the power of positive thinking.” It is faith in an all-powerful, living God with whom we can have an intimate relationship. He calls us to love and serve Him and enables us to do what we could never do in our own strength. “He satisfies us so that our youth is renewed like the eagles.” (Ps 103:5) These and many other truths motivate us to forge ahead. Not only will there be a cool drink of water (from the river of life!) at the end of our journey, but the Lord guarantees life-sustaining sips all along the way. (Is 49:10)