Do not settle!

Have you ever felt the passion of a dream get snuffed out and you had no desire to pursue that dream any longer? Have you lost the oomph for something that you once held so dear? Have you every given up the pursuit of some ambition? I certainly have. When I was much younger I thought I would grow up to be a doctor. Every thing I did in my childhood, my elementary, and secondary education had prepared me for this dream. In fact, I had started on the course in pursuit of a career as a medical doctor but along the way I settled for something else.

This past sunday, my pastor drew my attention to a passage of scripture that I have glossed over many a times. This is the story of Abraham’s father Terah:

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.

Genesis 11: 31-32 NIV

Terah had started a journey to Canaan- a land that becomes very symbolic and important to the Israelites many generations later; a land that was to be the promised land of the Israelites. Whether by his own design or by God’s divine providence, Terah had a desire to relocate to Canaan. God’s desire was for his chosen people whom he had not called out as at yet to always possess the land of ancient Canaan. That dream had been conceived in the heart of Terah and whether he knew it then or not, he had answered the call. But something interesting happens: somewhere between Ur of the Chaldeans and the promised land, Terah settles. We know from Chapter 12 that Terah settles in Harran so much so that he establishes his household in Harran and becomes a full citizen of Harran along with his entire household. He stops in Harran, he establishes himself in Harran, and finally he dies in Harran without ever making it to the promised land.

So I ask again, have you every given up the pursuit of an ambition and settled for less than? There is an interesting passage from the psalm that gives me lots of comfort in times of uncertainty with my ambitions and desires:

Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 BSB

Over the years, I have come to interpret this that not just that God giving us the things we desire but also that He places those desires in our hearts in the first place- just as He may have done for Terah to motivate him to move to Canaan. As I delight myself in God he gives me desires towards my life’s ambition to fulfil the purpose for which he has called me. And so my encouragement for myself and to you dear reader is to persevere and not settle in Harran (whatever your Harran may be).

There is another great lesson to be learnt from this story that I cannot overlook, with more eternal ramifications. Just like Terah, we are only to be sojourners on this earth. Your starting point – your Ur of the Chaldeans- is your geographical location on earth but the end point – your Canaan and promised land- is in Heaven with our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Many, like Terah, have settled for the pleasures of Harran (things of earthly benefits but certainly little to no eternal ones) and have missed out on all the good things of Canaan (Heaven). Lets take a lesson from Terah… set your sight on the end goal.. persevere to the end where the reward of eternal life far outweighs any reward of the life here on earth. I leave you with a verse to ponder:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Yours Truly.

Shout out to Pastor Kirk Cowman of Living Hope Alliance Church.

Purpose fatigue

So these past weeks I have invested myself in praying for something in particular and when I say invested I mean prayer, fasting, the whole works. Sometime last week I thought God had answered my prayers and I was relieved and ecstatic that now I could finally rest easy until I realized the answer had still not come. And boy was I deflated. The thought of praying for the same thing for even just another day when  I  thought that battle was over just sank my spirit. Have you ever been in a situation where you thought something was over: you thought the healing was going to happen that day, or you were so sure that you were going to get a particular job, or you were convinced in your spirit that this was your month to get pregnant… and it simply did not happen?

This week I read the parable of Jesus turning water into wine and something caught my attention. To give context, Jesus is at a wedding with his mum and the wine runs out. Mary, his mother, tells Jesus of the situation and advises the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do.

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. John 2:6-7 NIV

What caught my attention was the fact that the jars of water held 20-30 gallons of water and the servants filled each of them to the brim with a total of 120-180 gallons of water! What tiring work that must have been!  It must have looked like a futile job considering that with each gallon, they did not see any change to the water in the jars, it was still water. But they persevered and filled them all to the brim in obedience.

Have you ever gotten fatigued doing something you know God wants you to do or is right for you to do because results/ rewards are not immediately apparent? Have you wanted to throw in the towel, just stop hoping or waiting and say God just do your thing whenever you are ready? Well, there is a lesson to be learned in a sunday school song:

Don’t stop praying the Lord is nigh; don’t stop praying He hears your cry. God has promised and He will do; Don’t stop praying He’ll answer you!

Be encouraged! Keep filling the jars with water (keep praying, keep hoping, keep trusting, keep serving, keep applying for jobs) and when you have filled them all to the brim, wait for God’s move. It will surely come.

Yours truly.