I’ve had cars that were gutless wonders – even 18-wheelers would pass me going uphill. Sometimes I wondered if my car was even going to make it to the top and I have had to pull over and give the car a break. I’ve also had cars with enough get-up-and-go to gain 20 miles per hour going uphill to pass slower vehicles. I don’t mind passing going uphill when there’s a dedicated passing lane. I just about won’t pass going uphill on a two lane road even when there’s plenty of room in the passing zone, though, because I don’t know what’s just over the horizon. I’ve always believed that there’s still a road to drive on – it’s the other lane that concerns me. If a car pops over the hill while I’m passing, I may not have enough time to get out of his way, causing big problems.
My life is like that too – an uphill battle all the way (like walking to school in the snow, uphill both ways, barefooted) and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever make to the top (Philippians 3: 12-16; 2 Corinthians 1: 8). Many times I do fail miserably and have to step aside. Additionally, I fear that if I try to circumvent some obstacles, other obstacles are just over the horizon that I’ll meet head-on.
We face some of the uphill battles because we’re God’s children. The obstacles keeping us from attaining our goals can be blessings that result in greater blessings (Hebrews 12: 5-12). Sometimes God puts things in our way to keep us from sticking ourselves between a rock and a hard place where we can neither pass nor pull aside (Numbers 22: 21-27). Sometimes our mode of transportation may lay down on us to save us from impending doom or to prepare us for a greater blessing than the goal for which we were striving. We just have to have the attitude that realizes the end value of the difficulty – the attitude with the ability to visualize what’s over the horizon (Hebrews 11: 13-16; Philippians 3: 20, 21).
Still, this time of year is dreary. It’s cold and dry; most everything is a drab tan or gray (the groundhog saw his shadow – six more weeks of winter), and the joy of Christmas and New Year have worn off. Pile onto that the ongoing war and the world’s economic woes, not to mention the personal problems everyone has. Many of us are struggling to make it to the top, including me occasionally. We must visualize what’s over the horizon to survive.
Even during these dreary winter months we can have hope because whether the groundhog hides for six more weeks or another month and a half, God will eventually show that he’s still in charge. In just a matter of weeks, things will green back up again. I still remember when I first moved to Tucumcari. It was winter and I was used to lots of green grass even during winter. During February (about a month after I’d moved), I started getting concerned because of what I perceived as never-ending drab. Then about the beginning of March I looked out over the city from my workplace and all the elms had turned green. It was beautiful and I had newfound hope!
If you need to pull aside in your uphill battle this winter, don’t forget to call on God. Then just wait to see what he does. I made that call very recently and he answered with a Providential coincidence that even helped me finish this article (Psalm 18: 5; 118: 6). As part of my daily devotions within the past week, I had the privilege of reading Psalms 121 and 23 and Matthew 11: 28-30. Just before reading Matthew 11: 28-30, I read John 11: 28-30 (by Providential coincidence – an accident on my part that I came to view as an act of God).
The three intended passages reminded me that no matter how bad things get in our uphill battle, God provides for his children. John 11: 28-30 reminded me that just when I need him the most, he comes to see me (actually, he’s been there all along – Hebrews 13: 5, 6). God is so good (Romans 8: 28-30; 2 Corinthians 1: 9-11)!
To enjoy the blessings of God’s constant presence, we must do what he considers to be right (Acts 10: 34, 35; 3: 38, 39; Galatians 3: 26-4: 7). Having become obedient children, he’ll encourage us daily, reminding us that he has great things in store for us over the horizon (Jeremiah 29: 11; 1 Peter 1: 3-9; 1 Corinthians 2: 9, 10) and just every once in a while, we’ll enjoy a great blessing at the moment. Just look for it.
Leonard Lauriault, church of Christ