This picture is of a path. The path is the trail of a herd of elk I was tracking a number of weeks ago. As you can tell, the swamp grass is at least 8 feet tall. Sometimes it is hard to describe all of the obstacles encountered while chasing elk in the back country. A picture like this captures the futility of the situation. I’m wearing a T-shirt which speaks to the warmth of the sun and the herd has moved into cooler dark shaded places shielded from the searching eyes of predators like me. Trails like this wind on and on, around an around, with no obvious destination in sight. Faced with a choice to either pursue, or back out, and try to set up an ambush somewhere else is a mental exercise filled with pessimistic thoughts of desperation. It’s hard to keep our eyes on the prize when we can’t see the prize.
It seems that many of us (me included) grow weary of fighting through the swamp grass. The path looks daunting and futile at times. We stare at the path in front of us and start to search for detours. “Is there a way around this Lord? I really don’t want to go in there. Even if I happen to stumble across an elk, how would I ever get a shot off in that stuff? Besides…anything could be in there; bears, lions, and an assortment of other mean nasty ugly things. Is this really the only way?”
1 Corinthians 13:9-10 says, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.”
Verses like this remind me that I am a follower. It reminds me that the doors the Lord opens, the paths that He reveals, are His intention and will. It reminds me that I am blessed to even see the open door or revealed path. The longer I stand there and look for options, the more detours I seek, the trail grows colder, the elk move farther away. The verse says “we know in part and we prophesy in part“, which means we know God revealed this path an expects us to trust Him enough to follow it. It also means we understand the Lord’s nature and faithfulness enough to know He will provide for us on the journey. Our hesitation to obey doesn’t come from willful disobedience as much as it comes from fear and laziness. We fear changes in our lives, disruptions to our habits, and deviations from our routines. We also fear work…we fear the time needed to fight through the swamp grass. We have become lazy. When I realize that I have let fear infiltrate my thought process, when laziness has reared its ugly head, I need to look for the breach in my spiritual defenses. The first place I look is in the section of wall called “REST”. More often than not, I find the breach there. I realize that fear and laziness have a foothold because I am weary. I am weary of the swamp grass, I am weary of the harvest still white, I am weary of the battle which never ends, I am weary…
To repair the breach, I need to meditate on verses like Galatians 6:9, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
This verse works pretty good to warn me about growing weary. However, after I am already weary, it reads like preventive medicine and not the cure to what currently ails me. If I close God’s word after this one verse, I haven’t repaired the breach. In fact, I have widened the breach because pity has entered the fray and gained a foothold alongside fear and laziness. I have made my weariness about me. All of sudden, my motivations become one of “feeling better”. The revealed path, or open door, have nothing to do with “feeling better”, but have everything to do with “serving God”. Does this mean we need to feel awful in order to serve? Obviously not…it means we need to serve God with the proper perspective. The proper perspective is the antidote against weariness. Lets go back to the passage in 1 Corinthians 13 and pick up a few more verses.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Cor 13:9-12
The Apostle Paul gives us the perspective we need to recover from weariness. He reminds us that we know in part now…but we will know in full…then. He also reminds us that we are fully known…now. The Lord above knows us now, loves us now, and tasks us now…to carry out His will on earth. We may not know where the path in the swamp grass goes, but we do know the Lord is guiding us in there. He will lead, He will provide, and He will prevail. We are needed to be His mouthpiece, to portray His love, to carry His message of redemption and forgiveness. This perspective cures weariness.
“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.” 2 Thess 3:13