“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”- 1 Corinthians 9:25
For all the cat lovers out there, you can skip this article (just kidding). Despite the burden of this season, a blessing from these last six months has been a more flexible schedule to focus on areas that needed attention. One thing I have been putting more time into is taking our youngest dog (Skeeter- almost 2) on daily walks. The goal of the walks is to get some energy out and to do a little training, since we never took advantage of taking him to dog training or obedience classes. However, would you believe that in this time my dog has been teaching and training me?
There are two things he does consistently that have revealed truths to live by as believers. The first thing is that if there are other family members in the front yard, he plops right down and refuses to go on without them. He simply will not walk unless everyone is coming along. He wants to be with others…he wants to be a part of the herd. The lesson here is that our faith is not to be done alone because we are called to walk together in unity. Psalm 122:1 says, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Over the last six months several things have been tested: patience, compassion, our faith, and unity. This season has highlighted the necessity to have others in our lives to learn from, lean on, and grow with. Our faith is not be done only on Sundays and not to be done alone. Like Skeeter, let us stop moving forward until we have others walking with us! It will make all the difference in our ability to endure, our attitudes, our perspectives, and our growing in the faith.
The second thing is that when we come towards the end of the walk, about a half a mile away from home, his pace quickens, and his ear position moves from floppy to pinned back. Basically, he knows he is closing in on home and he is on a MISSION to get there. What I love in this lesson is that even after a long journey, Skeeter becomes more driven at the end to finish well and to arrive at the place he knows that he belongs. In Philippians 3:14 Paul says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” These past six months have been challenging, with many asking, “WHEN WILL THIS END?” May the Holy Spirit cause us not to just stay standing during these hard times, but to move forward, to advance, and to be even more focused and determined to follow God’s path and receive His crown of life! We may be wearied by what 2020 has brought our way and we may feel stretched to the limit in different areas. Don’t allow the economic forecast to trip you up. Don’t allow your boss’ demeanor to get you down. Don’t allow the 2020 election to steal your peace. Don’t allow the debates on masks, positive cases, vaccines, and guidelines to harden your heart. Let us focus on the path God has made for us and walk it out by faith, not giving up, not losing heart, and not forgetting that there is something better ahead!