June 11, 2008
"Just Keep Swimming!"
by Katherine Peters, Crosswalk.com News & Culture Editor
"Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
- hebrews 12:1
On Saturday night, I let myself go limp in front of the TV. The blur of activity, newness, and ridiculously hot weather the week before had exhausted me, so a complete mind/body check-out seemed in order. I don't have cable, though, so my viewing selection was pretty limited. I soon found myself watching "Finding Nemo."
Remember the part where the all-important scuba mask slips down, down, down into the dark gorge? Marlin panics and goes after it, only to swim frantically back out of the darkness. Then the crazy blue fish with a short term memory problem frolics her way into that same blackness with nary a care. A moment later Dorrie comes back to encourage Marlin. "Hey, Mr. Grumpy Gills," she says, "When life gets you down, you know whatcha gotta do?" "No, I don't want to know watcha gotta do." "Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!"
Not that I'm taking lessons from a digitized blue fish, but Dorrie's attitude reminded me what perseverance should look like. It's not that sitting on the couch and taking a break was evil in itself, but my can't-go-any-farther attitude was. That attitude indicated that I was slogging away in my own strength and had run out of energy without looking to the Lord for supernatural help. At points like that, even though I know the answer, "I don't want to know watcha gotta do" to keep pursuing what God has called me to do. Wallowing in my exhaustion seems so much easier.
Sunday evening, my dad took the opportunity to remind me that, "when life gets you down" and you're exhausted, God's faithfulness has the chance to shine through. The end of my rope is the beginning of grace made evident in my life, providing the strength to "keep swimming" even though I'm exhausted. And He gets the praise, because I know that strength is no longer something in me. His mercies are "new every morning" (lam. 3:23) and enough to keep me moving in the direction that He encourages me to go. My responsibilities are just one more way to bring me to my knees and let the Lord refresh me with His grace. After that, I can keep going in His mercy, and even sing while I'm at it. His faithfulness never ends.
Intersecting Faith & Life: So are you ready to call it quits when you're exhausted? Or are you relying on God and willing to keep going because of the goal ahead of you? The Bible is full of reminders of God's faithfulness to believers, and the stories all end with God being glorified for their reliance on Him. In the end, it's when we are weak that He makes us strong (2 cor. 12:10).