Sometimes I wish I could say it louder, or different, or with more profound words to make it sink in to faltering hearts: Faith heroes and prayer warriors and legacy makers aren’t born that way. They do not inherently possess any piercing clarity of wisdom or rock-solid certainty of vision or even spotless purity of spirit. The heroes are just the ones who persevere, one hard step at a time. The warriors are the people who pour out their hearts to God every day, and labor over the hard things, until they want to see Him more than they want their answers. The legacy makers are those who decide to be faithful in the small things, doing whatever is in front of them with a desire to please the One who called them, and leaving the outcome in His hands.
What makes them great is that they kept pressing on in faith, even when they felt like they had lost their way…even when they felt bogged down in the mundane…even when they could not see any good outcomes from where they were sitting… because you see, there simply is no way to get from here to there except through the ordinary moments of Everyday. And the Church-Planter reminds the early believers, that this is all they need to do, because God is doing all the heavy lifting in this relationship: God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
See, the people we look up to and aspire to become are forged in the ordinary ups and downs of gritty everyday life. They are the slow growth of hundreds of small self-denials and choices to stand in the light, and only they know the tears and doubts and sleepless nights along the way. You don’t need to be gifted and strong and capable, or wake up one day with all your issues resolved– you just need to take the next step toward God. And then do it again tomorrow.
Jesus used the story-picture of a mustard seed, and said nothing would be impossible if it were offered up into God’s hands. Then He showed them in living color what He was talking about, when a child held out his food, released it into Jesus’ hands and they all watched it grow into a feast for thousands. And it strikes me how this little boy thought he would go hungry for the day, when he gave up his lunch as a love-gift to the rabbi who was teaching them about God. He had no idea what Jesus intended to do with it, no aspirations of greatness. He just took a small step of serving someone else on a long hot day by the lake, despite his own needs, and ended up in the middle of a miracle.
And in all our ordinary days of needs and disappointments and expectations, that is always what it comes down to– will we choose to do the right thing, walk toward the light, offer up our small seed of faith, choose hope, lean on grace? Again and again, in and out of weeks and through all the seasons and changes of life, until someday we will be able to look back and see how far we have come in our faith-journey and know it was worth it. The Church-Planter Paul assured us it would be more than worth it, as he leaned hard into God’s promises: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18).
And who knows, from the outside looking in, someone else might well be saying Someday I want to be just like her.
This is the air I breatheBreathe, Marie Barnett
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me;
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very Word spoken to me
I’m desperate for you
I’m lost without you
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:12-14