“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9 NKJ)
It’s so easy to begin an exciting new project or season of life with enthusiasm, isn’t it? We wear broad smiles as we work passionately to get things off the ground. Then, just as easily those smiles can fade as we encounter a multitude of frustrating obstacles. Bone-tired weariness creeps in. We begin to lose heart as we near the finish line. If we’re not extremely careful, our desire to give up can grow stronger and stronger until we actually do.
In the New International Version (NIV), the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), and the New Living Translation (NLT), the phrase “lose heart” in Galatians 6:9 is translated “give up”. In Paul’s day, his readers would have associated the phrase “lose heart” with the mix of fear and weariness a woman experiences during labor. That resonated with me on several levels.
My youngest celebrated his 38th birthday last week, so it’s been a while since I was pregnant. But, some things can’t and shouldn’t be forgotten. Can’t, because the life-changing highs and lows of pregnancy engrave themselves into our brains. Shouldn’t, because without remembering the long grueling process, we can be tempted to tell our strong-willed little people, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!” Of course, I know you would never say such a thing!
During that first trimester of a much-wanted pregnancy a woman eagerly fast-forwards her life to that moment when her little bundle of joy gets placed in her arms. Then, she diligently plans and prepares for the arrival. She looks forward to everyone noticing her baby bump. She studies the reasons for all the negative effects she has to endure. She accepts the nausea, tiredness, and moodiness as uncomfortable parts of a most beautiful process.
The next three months alter not only the shape of her belly, but the rest of her body as well. Her entire wardrobe gets a makeover. Even her shoes grow tighter and tighter. Simple things like getting up in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit and tying her own shoes give her the same sense of accomplishment as a sweat-slinging workout at the gym. Soon, the new wears off, and she’s ready to get the show on the road. Now, the process seems more like work.
At some point during the third trimester, the mother-to-be has the unsettling thought,“This baby’s going to come out of here!” She grows more anxious about the labor and delivery process. She keeps tabs on all of her people’s whereabouts as the due date gets closer. She longs for the good old days when she could fit into her jeans, sit through an entire church service without visiting the ladies’ room, sleep on her stomach, and not shriek in horror when she stepped on the scales. She loses heart and is ready for the painful part of the process to become a distant memory.
But then! With just one look at that beautiful little face, she knows it was all worth it. Every nauseous morning. Every pound. Every backache. Every tear. Every swollen body part. All it took was just one look.
In what trimester are you when it comes to your faithful endurance? Are you eager, tired, or completely exhausted?
If you’ve just begun a new project or a new ministry please know that others benefit from witnessing your enthusiasm and unbridled passion. We can all use an inspiring breath of fresh air. Let us see Jesus living in you.
If you find yourself being swamped with doubts about your purpose or your abilities, go back and introduce yourself to your younger you. Remember how and why you started in the first place. Appreciate how far you’ve come. Be thankful for the obstacles that taught you new things. Be glad God helped you sling some sweat to make you stronger than you thought you could be. Let others see Jesus at work in you.
If you’ve been on the Christian road of faith for decades, don’t lose heart. Finish strong! You may not be able to physically labor like you used to. But, oh the knowledge you’ve picked up along the way! You’ve fallen down and successfully gotten back up so many times that those behind you see they don’t have to fear the future. Your tight-fitting religion has been exchanged for a wardrobe of free-flowing garments of love, grace, and mercy. You’ve learned how to use the wise resourcefulness God gave you instead of your own brawny muscle. Wisdom isn’t given to those who give up. It’s given to those who have messed up and then stood up. Let hope grow with every difficult moment to create a lifetime of faith that gives birth to a legacy of love. Let others see your faithfulness fully alive and resting in Jesus.
No matter the stage you find yourself in, know that resting every night in the arms of Jesus makes it all worth it. He understands every ache, doubt, fear, insecurity, and frustration. With our eyes on Him, let us run with perseverance the race set before us!
“Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”