We are approaching the half-way point in our Lenten observance and just like any other effort, this is when you go through difficult times. I find it remarkable how I have to almost drag myself to the computer because my brain is blank and I cant think of anything to say, but once I sit down and begin doing a few things it all changes. Jesus was so right when he told his sleepy disciples, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
We often dont believe we can do something because there appears to be no energy or motivation. I wonder how many truly remarkable things have been left aborning because someone was unwilling to fight through the resistance.
I believe that our spiritual life is very similar. That is why steadfast perseverance and faithful endurance are important biblical virtues. Men have always admired talent and ability, but they are no indicators of success. There is one thing that has always been an excellent indicator of the likelihood of achievement and that is dogged persistence. He who keeps on keeping on, has the greatest probability of triumph.
If I have any virtues, I have that one. I am a grinder. I keep coming back to have another go at it. When I was in sixth grade in St. Agnes Catholic School, the nun who was our teacher that year told me I was like a rubber ball, the harder you knocked me down, the harder I bounced back up. Even though age has taken away some of my resilience, that still is a reasonable description of who I am. I am very hard to get rid of (take that in the best possible way), and once a friend, always a friend, at least from my side of the fence.
I believe that is one of character attributes God highly praises. While we place a great deal of respect and honor on those who study and argue and teach and preach, I think God places his greatest joy on those who are there, day in, day out, steadfastly doing what needs to be done. This is not to say study and other such pursuits are not important, they are. They just arent as primo as we want them to be. As a matter of fact, God has told us that faith (which includes what I have been talking about), hope (which also includes what I have been saying), and love are the most important things to God. (1 Corinthians 13) .
So, I sticking to that insight. Study, learning, knowledge, these things are not ends in themselves, though our culture has tended to do just that. No, they are means to the real end, which is creating the vessel God has designed us to be and we only arrive at that point of creation through dogged perseverance.
Tomorrow is the midpoint of this journey and if I am to speak of anything I have learned so far, I would have to say that Nike beat me to it. I have learned to Just do it! Do that, and the rest will fall into place, for you as it has for me.
Grace and peace and the joy of the Lord be with you today and for the rest of your journey and may your steadfast perseverence be a fundamental part to your neverending story. Amen.