There are so many times when we are tempted to give up, give in, or just plain quit. I was in a recent conversation with some students who were complaining about course work and who were questioning if they even wanted to complete what was set before them. I am aware of students who ‘hop’ around the education world, trying this curriculum, then that one, or this co-op, then another, a year in public school and a stint at the local Christian School. Or from my own experiences, my family hopped from church to church during my formative years, giving me the impression that if I didn’t like something at the church, I could just go to another one. In all these situations, we have lost the ability to work through difficult situations, where we should strive for good communication and better community. I had sort of dismissed the conversations with the aforementioned students and had not much considered the ‘church or school hopping’ for a while, but have been pondering it during this Holy Week. As I have meditated on the work of Christ, I have been challenged to consider where we jump off the train to avoid that which is hard.
In recent years, I have been challenged by those who work toward running a marathon. While I’m not inclined to do this, I enjoy watching the progress of those who start slow, build endurance and eventually run a race. Many of these folks will talk about feeling exhilarated as they begin the race and enjoy seeing the cheering crowds along the way. But almost always that exhilaration turns to torture as the remaining miles stretch out before them. The finish line seems so far and requires help from the cheering fans and friends to cross that line.
Much was the same with the work of Christ. He was the God man on a mission. His mission was to completely change the world. He lived a sinless life, experiencing all that we experience. He fulfilled prophecy after prophecy and brought a message of hope and healing to a world lost in darkness. As I watch some of the Bible stories portrayed on the big screen, I am struck again and again by Christ’s comment as He neared death: “It is finished.” He completed His work on the cross and three days later, rose and eventually returned to the right hand of the Father. He completed His work. But we are weak and often fail to complete the journeys that are set before us.
Are you on a journey that has been long? It may be an educational journey, a church difficulty, a hard family situation, a difficult school year. How will you push on in this journey? What help do you need? We often ‘throw in the towel’ or we allow our children to throw in the towel, setting up a dangerous precedent for their futures. A young lady I know recently worked a job for just a couple weeks before ‘resigning’ because it was boring. This happens all too often. Try it…don’t like it? Quit. Take a class? Don’t like it? Quit. You get the picture. Please let me interject here that there ARE times when leaving a situation is needed and appropriate, but this should be the exception and not the rule.
So I ask: What are you afraid of? I have recently heard of students that are intimidated or scared of a certain teacher, or for students who are seniors at Christiana…they are often afraid of their senior thesis. What has happened to learning to run the race, slowly, steadily and surely? What about crossing the finish line? Often you are SO close! So join me in the hard things. Read hard books. Study material that is confusing and write about it. Talk about difficult situations instead of ‘jumping ship.’ Sit at the table and finish the school work. Keep running the race and cross the finish line with me.