It’s been an exhausting week – the kind that demands and drains and leaves you feeling emotionally, physically, and spiritually depleted. As I looked around the internet this week, I could tell that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.
There was homework, gymnastics, football practices, ministry meetings and preparations, a business trip for my husband, ministering to people I love and so much more. All things that bring me joy (With the exception of homework and the business trip of course!). Deep down I knew that others were going through circumstances far worse than mine, but I couldn’t help feeling the weight of my responsibilities pressing in on me from all sides. I felt like giving up and it was only Wednesday.
I walked behind my daughter as she rode her bike through the cemetery next to the field where my son’s football team was practicing. I started to wonder if any of the things I had to do, or even wanted to do, mattered at all. I thought of my mother and how, many days, she must have felt like this as a single mother. With awe and respect, I thanked God for her and for all the other single moms who feel the weight of the world most days.
My daughter stopped and commented about how old some of the headstones looked. We read some of the engraved names and dates aloud and wondered about the lives of the now deceased. As she began to peddle on, I continued to ponder those lives, memorialized by stones sticking out of the earth. How many of them would witness to me now if they could?
The Lord brought to mind a passage of scripture that has become very dear to me.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
I envisioned a crowd of the deceased on either side of me, cheering me on as if I were in a race. I pictured myself looking up and seeing Jesus at the end of the race, victorious over sin and death. I kept on, putting one foot in front of the other, as I walked down that cemetery road.
…do not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:3)
…strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees…(Hebrews 12:12)
On this road less traveled, I must always fix my eyes on Jesus. Always. In good times and bad, the mundane and the extraordinary, He is always there just waiting for me to acknowledge His Presence. Only then can I shake off the weight of this world, lay it at the foot of the cross, and find joy in placing one foot in front of the other. Only then can He take my hand and walk beside me or even carry me for a time. Only then can I remember that everything I do really does matter – for eternity.
I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
How does Jesus encourage you to persevere and run the race?