Stay Strong

the journey

1 Corinthians 15:57-58

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

57 All thanks to God, then, who gives us the victory over these things through our Lord Jesus Christ!

 58 And so brothers of mine, stand firm! Let nothing move you as you busy yourselves in the Lord’s work. Be sure that nothing you do for him is ever lost or ever wasted.

When Nathan and I were preparing to leave for Ecuador in 1982, we chose this passage in I Corinthians to put on our prayer cards, hoping to remind the believers back in the United States to pray for us and for the strength to persevere in service for the Kingdom of our Savior. It is funny how God takes His Word and applies to our own lives as well.

We weren’t even out of the United States when the wavering began. We packed up everything we believed we would need for 4 years and shipped it, back then by a shipper called Flying Tigers. We then applied for, and received, our visas as non-immigrant, non-tourist residents. We were required to stop in the Ecuadorian Consulate in Miami for the required stamps in our passports, only to discover that all of our documentation was gone. Hmmm….Mind you, these were not the days of computers, faxes, emails and all the new technology that we now have. Oh no, these were the good old days, my friends.

Nathan and I were traveling with our baby daughter, Janielle, who was nine months old at this point, not yet walking or crawling, but certainly the cutest baby ever born on the face of the earth at that point in history. While we frantically called my parents COLLECT and arranged for them to overnight the duplicate documentation, we were both STRESSED OUT. Even smiling Nathan who never gets riled was…riled. We began to waver and question–maybe we’re making a mistake…maybe we misread the Lord’s plan? Doubts filled our minds as we tried to figure out how to get the mess straightened out. And Janielle? She just sat on the floor, playing, jabbering and smiling at everyone–totally oblivious to what we were going through at that moment.

Nathan was the one who heard the admonishment from the Lord first…here was our baby, in the middle of the same struggle, but she was happy and unconcerned. She just knew that her world was all right even in a strange office with people who didn’t speak her language. Her parents, on the other hand? We were trying to do all we could in our own strength rather than rely on the Lord to open the right doors, provide the necessary signatures and get us back on our way. And on our own, we were just like Peter walking on the water–as soon as he let his gaze slip away from the Lord Jesus, Peter began to sink. Just like Peter, we gave up our joy in the journey–because of some measly PAPERWORK? (And believe me, we learned a lot about paperwork in Ecuador.)

Nathan and I have reminded each other of that situation many times over the last 30 years. I would love to say I learned my lesson that day once and for all, but I can’t. In my own strength, I fail, I fall, I give up. I question what I know, I become afraid. I cannot tell you how much I long to relinquish this human weakness once and for all and become and stay strong, no matter what storms may come and rock my little row boat. But, I DO know with all the certainty I can muster in my bravest moments, that God continues to work in and around me, continuing that work that He began in me, and therefore in response to HIS faithfulness to me, I will continue to seek that steadfast, immovable, abounding life because of all He has done for me.

light our way

Stay Strong
Newsboys

You’re in the moment now
A bitter root
A wandering eye and then
The ties that bind start wearing thin, thin

You’re in the moment now
When all you’ve been blessed with
Is not enough
Here’s where the ground gets loose
Here’s where the devils call your bluff

Stay strong
You are not lost
Come on and fix your eyes ahead
There’s a new dawn to light our day, our day
You’ve gotta stay strong
You and I run
For the prize that lies ahead
We’ve come too far to lose our way, our way

We’ve seen the tragic flaws
The tortured souls
The saints with feet of clay
Here’s where sin becomes cliché

We’ve come through wilderness and watched
The cloud by day
The burning sky into dawn
Have you forgotten who you are?
Did you forget whose trip you’re on?

Stay strong
You are not lost
Come on and fix your eyes ahead
There’s a new dawn to light our day, our day
We’ve gotta stay strong
You and I run
For the prize that lies ahead
We’ve come too far to lose our way, our way

Get up, there’s further to go
Get up, there’s more to be done
Get up, this witness is sure
Get up, this race can be won
This race can be won

We’ve gotta stay strong
You are not lost
Come on and fix your eyes ahead
Our Father’s dawn will light our day, our day
Come on and stay strong
His grip is sure
And His patience still endures
There’ll be no letting go today, no way

Come on, and stay strong
You and I run
For the prize that lies ahead
We’ve come too far to lose our way, our way

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvl1ts4oQP0

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