Perseverance, One Day at a Time

When confronted with a great effort, “don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow...”

Posted in , Sep 14, 2015

Jesus tells us to live–and persevere–one day at a time.

Persevering through a tough circumstance can be daunting, but Jesus tells us to live one day at a time.

Samuel and I ran a 5K race last weekend. It was our first organized run.

“You run ahead,” I said at the starting line.

“You sure?” he asked.

“Go!” I said. “I’ll see you at the end.”

Samuel took off, strong and summer-tan, full of energy. He glanced over his shoulder twice, and then he was gone.

My feet hit the ground in a familiar pattern. My respiration joined the rhythm too. I made it to the half-way point and smiled as I ran around orange cones and started back the way I’d come.  But on the way back there was a long uphill stretch. My legs ached. My back hurt. My shoes rubbed my foot raw.  I missed the sweetness of Sam’s encouragement and conversation. I struggled along. Tired. Wanting to quit. I eventually saw the white tent by the finish line, but it was far, far away.

Looking at it brought discouragement.

Lord, I’ll never make it, I prayed. It’s far. I’m not even close.

As I pounded along, feet feeling like lead, a whisper of words washed over my spirit. They were powerful in simplicity. They were comforting and filling and sweet: 

Set a shorter goal and look there. The great distance is too much. It’s like the way I’ve told you to live. I’ve measured your time into days.

“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34, TLB)

I thought about this as I ran along. A manageable distance. A shorter goal. Getting through one measured portion when the overall overwhelms. It was exactly like a trial I’ve been working through. The end seems far off. It feels like I’ve been in this place forever. I’m tired. I strain to see the end but I can’t.

But it’s okay.

God directs me. He tells me to manage what’s in front of me–one day at a time.

Gratitude was fresh energy to my body. And to my spirit. I fixed my eyes on a tree, a tall and strong and mature, anchored along the path. When I got there, I focused on a speed sign, bright and white against a midwestern field. After that, there was patch of purple–wildflowers in a ditch.

Sam was at the finish line. When I crossed, he put his arm around my shoulders and lifted his hand for a high-five.

I’d gotten to the end!

Just like working through a life trial, the distance was manageable.

I just had to take it one step at a time.

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