Are you feeling overwhelmed by the world? Or stuck in the middle of a middle of a road going nowhere? Are you tired with the fight, weary from your burdens? Feeling despair? Here are some reflections from my devotional reading today from Called:?! Following a Future Filled with the Possible:
“The unlikely heroic Hobbits, Frodo and Sam, find themselves discouraged to the point of despair. Their lives seem stuck somewhere in the long middle of the greatest story. Frodo is ready to throw in the towel. Sam reaches deep and speaks these inspired words to his friend:
“‘It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how
could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.‘ (The Two Towers)
“Faith is not a proper belief, but a passionate grip. Yet faith calls for a release of control, a confidence in what can’t be seen, an assuredness surrounded by doubt and discouragement, that determine to persevere anyway.
“In the end, I think there is only one secret to following the call of God. It’s perseverance. Every enemy of God comes against the called ones in an allied attempt to derail the story. The world, the flesh, and the devil conspire to seduce, corrupt, and destroy the fledgling plant of faith. But every ounce of heaven, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the Scripture, and the saints stand with all who want to respond to the calling of God. . .the battle between heaven and hell is the mismatch of the ages. . .[and] the posture of the Called is humble kneeling. The prayer of the Called is, ‘Come, Holy Spirit!’ The battle cry of the Called is, ‘Thy Kingdom Come!’
“The perseverance of the Called is not one of ‘bucking up’ or ‘trying harder’ or ‘optimistic self-talk.’ The biblical idea of perseverance is distinct. It requires steadfastness, yet underneath this is a hyper-focus. It comes together in statements like ‘For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God,’ and ‘They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.’”
Brothers and Sisters, fellow followers of Jesus Christ, no matter what has happened or will happen in our lives, our nation, and the world, we can be steadfast when we are hyper-focused. And the great secret is to focus ourselves on Him. Continually laying ourselves down before him and keeping our eyes fixed on him.
J.D. Walt continues: “What would it mean to fix our eyes on Jesus? What will it take to get our gaze off ourselves? What would a life look like that was completely and astonishingly abandoned to the beholding of this God? It is from him we have come and it is to him that we live and move and have our being, and it is to him we are going.”
Sisters and Brothers, let us not allow anger, fear, hatred, news stories or Facebook posts distract us. Let us resolve to remain hyper-focused on Jesus. For even this darkness must pass. And when the new day comes and the sun shines it will shine out the clearer for the darkness that has come and gone. Amen