Faithful. Fanatic. announcement: please read to the end
Some of us are great starters. We crash through the gate with gusto, are full of enthusiasm and passion, and then . . . life gets busy. Like work is extra demanding or something else catches our eye, right? Or the 'new thing' becomes somewhat routine and we tire of it. Ugly truth: I am a quitter. For that reason, I have a small celebration when I finish a bottle of shampoo! (okay, very small, but I do smile inside)
God knew that all of us, left to our own devices, would quit.
Look at these five all-important words from the book of Hebrews:
"You have need of endurance."1
Of late, I have been captivated by stories of people who live well consistently, those who do not lose sight of their dream, do not give up on the miracle they need to realize in their lives. I am finishing a biography that describes the life of a man who would not quit-in spite of immense hardship including jail, life-threatening bouts of tuberculosis, poverty, friends turning their backs on him, several of his children dying, and persecution over 41 pain-staking years. It is the story of Ben Yehuda, the man who single-handedly brought the Hebrew language back to Israel.2 (pictured - Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, which I took in November--cannot wait to go back)
[Took a picture of the above note in the inside of a gift store on Ben Yehuda Street. After that suicide bomber drove down the street, it was closed to cars and now has trees, planters, and a lot of shoppers. ]
Anywaysss....I have loved reading about this devoted man as Ben Yehuda was a study of endurance. When he began his work, the Hebrew language was absolutely dead, only used in liturgy; there were 150 separate languages spoken in Israel. In his eulogy, he was called a 'faithful fanatic'. (I like it.)
When Moses sent the 12 spies into Canaan, a land which God had already promised to the Israelites, only two came back, ready to apprehend that promise-Joshua and Caleb. Caleb serves as one great role model for living life to the full. Most notably, Caleb did not just have faith in God, he believed him, and he trusted that he would follow through with what he had promised!
Aye, Caleb did not just say he had faith in God, without that faith translating into action. And he remembered God's faithfulness for the long haul, over his lifetime, crediting God's provision to his understanding of a God who is not just great and mighty, but oh, so good. So at 40 years of age, Caleb crossed from the desert to the Promised Land because he believed God, trusted his promise and acted on it.3
Caleb had it going on! Besides being faithful, reliable, tenacious, all in, gutsy, and in for the long haul ... He was RESILIENT. The character traits that he exhibited at 40 years of age still defined him at 85 years of age! Look what he said, "Here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then." Caleb holds God to his promise about giving him the land of Hebron, -"Give me this mountain!" he cries out, ready to fight, though he is 85 years old.4 He does, and he prevails. You read that right - Eighty-five years old!
Resilience ~ staying the course, coming back after failure or mishap, running strong, and remaining steadfast ~ it matters ... a lot, especially for we who are endeavoring to live Christian lives.
Developing resilience is demanding, mostly done in secret, often humbling, not always fun5 ... but absolutely vital.
May endurance have its perfect work in us.6
Hey, let's you and I practice being resilient! Whaddaya say?
I will be taking a week off as my little darlings-my daughter, son-inlaw, two grandbabies and yet-to-be born identical twin boys are moving to North Carolina next weekend. I want to be as present as possible and will be back with you in a week or so.
Pictures? Oh sure.
Alyssa, 1 1/2; Bennett, just 4!
these little guys will be here in time for Christmas!
1 - Hebrews 10.36, NKJV
2 - Tongue of the Prophets: The Life Story of Eliezer Ben Yehuda, Robert St. John, 1952.
3 - Numbers 13
4 - Joshua 14.6-13
5 - A Resilient Life, Gordon MacDonald
6 - James 1.4