Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Additional Thoughts on Finishing Well

By the grace of God and the ingenuity of man I have been able to live a convenient life. Between Wal-Mart, McDonalds, cable TV, the internet and credit cards I have or can easily get whatever I need and much of what I want. For the most part I see this as all good. However, there is a down side to a convenient life. Christian virtues such as perseverance and endurance are left undeveloped in a convenient environment.

It’s impossible to finish well without perseverance and endurance. Heck, it’s impossible to finish at all without them. I’m concerned that our American church culture has somehow equated difficulty with evil, sin and demonic attack. In other words, “if God was really in this, it would be easier”. Maybe not, maybe God is in the hard thing.

The journeys of every major biblical figure required perseverance and endurance. This includes Jesus himself as well as the first century church. It’s either naive or foolish to think we are some how immune.

Saint Paul viewed his difficulties very differently than we American Christians do…

“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…”
Romans 5:3-5

Hmmm… could it be that my inconveniences and my difficult circumstances are the very tools God’s using to produce in me the perseverance, character & hope I’ll need to finish well? Yes, it could well be. The easy way out usually isn’t God’s way.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. In the midst of chemotherapy I made the decision to enjoy the good days, endure the bad days and just keep going forward. This mindset has served me well through many challenges, be they physical, emotional, relational or spiritual.

Father, give me the grace I need to finish well. Develop in me the perseverance, character and hope I need to finish the race you have marked out for me. Help me to enjoy the good days, endure the bad days and just keep going forward. Please Father, allow me to see your hand in it all, amen.

© Tom Zawacki 2006

“Never, never, never give up!” Winston Churchill

1 comment:

  1. Always good stuff Tom. Thanks.

    Made me think of the talk I had with Claire Johnson (Pam & Steve's daughter) on Sunday. They just came home from 2 weeks in Israel and 2 weeks in Kenya. The gist of the conversation was her confusion over how warm, and happy and 'family' the people in Kenya were, compared to us Americans. They have so little, and struggle with every detail of life, but are so much happier in general than us.