Pressing On: Through Futility to Faith
Last fall on a particularly windy day, I was blowing leaves into an adjacent lot that I own when I realized something: this labor seems futile. I would blow the leaves and get a favorable wind and then, just as quickly, another wind would come up from the opposite direction and push the previously-blown leaves right back at me.
I have felt this same futility in managing my Type One Diabetes for the last thirty seven years. I continue to push ahead even through complications such as near blindness in my right eye. I press on, however, not because of a prideful sense of accomplishment, but the alternative to letting go would be death.
The apparent futility of both of these situations remind me a lot of the dailyness of the Christian life, especially in the workplace.
How often do we feel as if our efforts to live the Christian life in spite of opposition, hard circumstances, little recognition, etc. are futile at best? An irate boss? A troublesome co-worker? Loads of work that seem to increase minute by minute? Constant ridicule for our love for Jesus? Often, all we are left with is our well-versed theology that these circumstances are a result of the Fall. Correct. However, in the midst of these troublesome things, we look for some greater meaning to combat the futility.
In the third chapter of Philippians, Paul must have had a sense of these frustrations in the church at Philippi as he penned this letter. He admonishes the believers to “rejoice.” He counted earthly gain as “loss” to know Jesus. Several times, he states that he is “pressing on” for a future reward. He finally states that the believer’s citizenship is in Heaven. So is our reward. In all of his letters, Paul never sugar-coated the struggles and plight of believers and neither should we. He gives NO easy solutions.
Just like blowing leaves or managing diabetes, there is no easy solution to the never-ending struggles that we face in our faith, either. In the workplace, in our homes, even in our churches, we press on, looking forward to our seeing Jesus for eternity. We believe from the Bible that He will never leave or forsake us. We also live out the Christian life in community, hand in hand with other believers who struggle in this life through tough circumstances and tensions in the Christian life.
We are “crushed but not destroyed.”
I finally finished the yard, only to repeat the process again. Again, I tackled the yard with the leaf blower. This time, however, my neighbor across the street came and helped. Together, the job went much faster.