The Home Stretch

Last Sunday, I observed my toddler drifting off to sleep on our way back from church. He’s always determined, it seems, to stay awake through the journey home, a journey of about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the traffic condition. On the drive home, I glance back a few times to check if he’s awake and believe it or not, he’s usually awake for at least two-thirds of the journey. But something ‘magical’ always happens in those last few minutes, and by the time we’re home – he’s fast asleep. It’s hardly ever more than 10 minutes of sleep that he gets, but he is never awake by the time we get home.

And that takes me to my point: finishing any effort – a marathon, a project, a course, whatever it is – always requires a commitment to see through what you started. Perseverance is a powerful virtue in the development of our character, one we must all strive for in our daily lives. It is the deliberate choice to follow through, no matter the adversity or difficulty we face. And it is often the last bit of effort we need to put in that seems to sap our energy the most. Like my son, it is those last few minutes of staying awake till we’re home that is the hardest. That is when the lure of sleep is greatest and determination to stay awake is greatly tested.

Whether learning a skill, getting an education, acquiring experience, building a relationship or working at any defined project, we must learn to persevere through the difficult seasons. Difficulties can help us persevere as we truly define what is more important to us – the ease we crave, or the goal we desire to achieve. While some efforts have a clearly defined end point, others are continuous, like building a relationship. But we must recognize that the gain we seek from nurturing those relationships do not come without persevering through difficult seasons.

As a Christian, perseverance is most important to us because the kingdom we are looking for is heavenly, not of this earth. What God has promised us are not things we can get in this world. So we wait with hope and walk by faith, trusting that what God has promised, he will perform. We look forward to the return of the Lord Jesus and the transformation of our bodies, knowing that His coming is nearer now than when we first believed. And we choose to live as strangers and foreigners in this world, ambassadors of another kingdom. We do all this, knowing that this age is rolling up to a close, and that we are on the home stretch to inheriting God’s eternal kingdom.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised (Heb 10:35, NIV)

But he who endures to the end shall be saved (Matt. 24:13, NKJV)

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (Romans 13:11, NIV)

Celebrate the Difference

Yellow. And Red

Green. And Blue

Cream. And Coffee

Milk. And Chocolate

White and Black and You and Me

And everything that’s in between

Contrast and complement

Within the space that fills the earth.

The space. That fills

That occupies. Unseen

Untouched. Unmoved.

Unchanging. Unending

Transforming. Upending

So we are treading. Softly

Unknowing. Uncertain

We are reeling. Weakly

Unloving. Unforgiving

In cycles of Love and Hate

We cough up what we ate

Now needless. Now endless.

Now beginning. Now ending

Now returning. Newly starting

From the beginning of beginnings

Arriving. Finding

Traces of nothing

It never was to start with

You started. And finished

All alone in the darkness

Because you chose to

Loathe the difference

Between us. The difference

Between You and Me

Toyin Taiwo © 2016

Oh Jesus I Have Promised

O Jesus, I have promised, To serve Thee to the end;

Be Thou forever near me, My Master and my Friend;

I shall not fear the battle, If Thou art by my side,

Nor wander from the pathway, If Thou wilt be my Guide.

 

Oh, let me feel Thee near me; The world is ever near;

I see the sights that dazzle, The tempting sounds I hear;

My foes are ever near me, Around me and within;

But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer, And shield my soul from sin.

 

Oh, let me hear Thee speaking, In accents clear and still,

Above the storms of passion, The murmurs of self-will;

Oh, speak to reassure me, To hasten, or control;

Oh, speak, and make me listen, Thou Guardian of my soul.

 

O Jesus, Thou hast promised, To all who follow Thee

That where Thou art in glory, There shall Thy servant be;

And Jesus, I have promised, To serve Thee to the end;

Oh, give me grace to follow, My Master and my Friend.

 

Oh, let me see Thy footmarks, And in them plant mine own;

My hope to follow duly, Is in Thy strength alone.

Oh, guide me, call me, draw me, Uphold me to the end;

And then to rest receive me, My Savior and my Friend.