We are halfway done with another year and 2018 has been filled with many ebbs and flows, so much that we have gotten sea sick. Some of us have even said that we are getting out of the boat. We are at the point of giving up and throwing in the proverbial towel. We are one-second away from throwing down the bloodstain banner and retreating back to our comfortable hiding place. We know that we should keep moving but we don’t know because our weariness has gotten the best of us. Our staying power, the capacity to withstand the trials of this life is just not there.
In the past I had given up many of times. I was quick to make excuses when it came to giving up on my dreams and desires. I allowed the demons of stress, worry, inadequacy, and fear of failure to weigh me down and render me completely ineffective. My thoughts became larger than me and I would fall victim to them. I learned to stop giving in and to continue to fight the good fight with a persistent faith. However recently, as I was dealing with some hard decisions and was feeling pained, stressed and torn about what direction to take in some personal areas of my life, thoughts of sitting out this race creeped in my mind. And as I was praying, questioning my Father about my race being so hard and justifying my "give up to do something less challenging" plan I heard, "Are You Finished or Are You Done?" At that moment I realized just how close I was to falling into that same destructive cycle.
It is clear if we give up in this amazing race of life and take the course of least resistance we will be defeated and not experience the rewards of the well laid out race our Father has for us! That was a pattern that I knew very well. I always became discouraged when it seemed like time and chance was happening at an alarming rate and I would through in the towel and miss myreward. Ecclesiastes 9:11 says that:
Again, I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.”
King Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes puts his powers of wisdom to work to examine the human experience and assess the human situation. His perspective is limited to what happens "under the sun." It is a carnal view. He considers life as he has experienced, and he observed it between the horizons of birth and death -- life within the boundaries of this world. So, what does Solomon mean? How could the fastest runner not win the race? How could the strongest man not be victorious in battle? Are we all subject to fate? Solomon was saying it isn’t always the strongest guy or the fastest guy that wins in life. We have seen those whom everybody thought were a cinch to win or achieve but was unable to fulfill their dreams. Time and chance happened. Time in this verse means "opportunity” and chance suggests "occurrence" or "incident.” What this verse is saying is that we all have the opportunity to make something of our lives, but eventually; there are elements of circumstance that have to fall together even before someone with great abilities can accomplish his or her goals. But as Solomon stated, things don’t always work that way, despite if you are a believer or not, we all are subject to things not coming together and falling apart and nothing is guaranteed to us but death in this world.
Many of us have had experiences that confirm the truth of this verse. All our carefully laid plans have fallen apart; all our dreams that we had in some particular area of life crumbled, and we could not understand why. We had to learn, as this text says, the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong. The Word of God clearly acknowledges that men, even those seemingly well-deserving, will be met with unforeseen, chance setbacks, including death! This may not seem just. It may be worrisome to contemplate and very painful to experience, but we are warned through Solomon that such things will occur. Such possibilities must be part of our thinking if we are going to face the trials of life in a mature manner that will glorify our Father in heaven.
However, the illusion that the society presses upon us all the time is that we can handle our life by our choices. It's your life! You can live it the way you please. We’ve been taught and conditioned to think that if you want to succeed you have to compete and be aggressive, get up earlier, go to bed later, put in more hours, do unto them before they do unto you. But God says it cannot be done that way. Often it will seem that time and chance plays a bigger part in our lives than God’s providence and sovereignty. But that is not so as God knows the plan for our lives.
God has a plan that is divine, and He is always working in our lives. It may not seem like it sometimes, but we must not be fooled to think that we are in control of our lives. We must realize that His plan will lead us to a purposeful and meaningful life if we allow Him take complete control of our life and our will. This is not to say that we will not encounter some bumps and have some bruises from the struggles, and things will always work out. Life will not be perfect. But if we have faith in the master plan He has created for us and trust that He is divinely orchestrating everything in our life; all those storms, mistakes, bad decisions, good decisions are going to work for our good. But for it to work, we have to keep moving, building endurance. Romans 5:3-4 says, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Even though I wanted to give up, I did not as I remembered. If we continue to endure as good soldiers, never giving up, reverencing God and honoring His commandments while fighting the enemy with a faith-based consistency and persistency we will be delivered to receive our just reward in the end!
So, are you finished worrying, stressing, complaining and being in fear? Are you done crying over the past, doubting your abilities, not trusting His plan, and feeling frustrated because you don't see the fruit from your labor?
If so, let’s make notes of the GAME PLAN to get you to the finish line of faith!
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