"The only way to learn how to have victory: is to learn how to do what's right when it feels wrong. To learn to love people when you want to hurt them. To give away what you want to keep. To stay places you would like to run away from. And to leave places you want to stay."
I'm not for sure who wrote this- whether it was from a missionary or a book- but I find it to be quite applicable to my life and Christian walk. It's easy to run when life gets hard, but it's harder to wait patiently- to endure difficulty- to grow endurance in faithfulness in difficult situations.
The world teaches us that it's ok to run away from discomfort.
But God doesn't give us that excuse..
In fact, Ellen White teaches us directly on the matter- asking us to be faithful in the duty that lies nearest to us. She writes "Let us remember that while the work we have to do may not be our choice, it is to be accepted as God's choice for us. Whether pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies nearest. "Whatsoever they hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. Ecclesiastes 9:10. If the Lord desires us to bear a message to Ninevah, it will not be as pleasing to Him for us to go to Joppa or to Capernaum. He has reasons for sending us to the place toward which our feet have been directed. At that very place there may be someone in need of the help we can give."
And I believe there's many opportunities for spiritual growth and relationship growth that we miss, when we run from difficult circumstances or try to create change in our life when God is asking us to be faithful in a difficult situation.
We miss the joy of overcoming by His strength, and seeing Christ's faithfulness.
We lose the friendships that could have been strengthened by adversity, the depth of intimacy over time, and the conscious growth by honesty.
We miss out on character flaws that could have been refined-- impatience that could have been bent to patience, gratitude that could have been developed, and forbearance.
Friends, sometimes I find it too easy to want to run away. I love adventure, love change, love travel and wondering. Maybe you identify with the desire for adrenaline and change.
But in my wondering, I'm prone to forget and to leave the Lord- the one I love. I'm prone to act selfishly and carelessly and follow my own dreams, instead of surrendering my life to Him.
So I have to pray to God to bind my heart to Him- to tie my desires away- to kill the selfish, running away spirit in me. I have to pray that God would quiet my soul, in a world that is loud.
Sometimes we think that if we fly to the ends of the earth- that there we may find Jesus more, that life would suddenly be better.
We think that we could love better- if we were in a different country, with a different person, then the one in front of us.
We think that if we were a front line missionary- we would be closer to Jesus- then working a job here in the states.
We justify to ourselves, and God, and the people around us- why we need change, why we are running away.
But Jesus calls us today, in the place where we are currently dwelling. Jesus calls us today to repent, to turn our hearts towards Him, to learn to know Him, to talk of Him, to desire Him, and to stay faithful to Him. Jesus calls us not to run- but to experience Him right now in our hearts. Wherever you are, you can have that peace of knowing Jesus. You can have that new start, from the inside out. Just ask Jesus with me:
Jesus take my impulsive heart. Take away my selfish desires. Take away the hard parts of my life. Give me a heart that loves like you. Give me a patient, enduring heart. Teach me what it means to walk with you all the days of my life- because I want to live with you in your joy and peace every day. I love you Lord. Amen.