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Just One More...

Dear Friends,

Earlier this week I had surgery to remove the cancer in my arm. As I was waiting for the procedure to begin, I noticed a motivational poster hanging on the wall. It was a picture of a walking path winding through the woods, and underneath it said:  “There are two simple rules for life. Rule #1: Take one step forward. Rule #2: When you don’t think you can take one more step, refer back to rule number one.”

It’s a clever poster, and I’m sure the reason it’s hanging in the office of a place that deals with cancer patients is to encourage us all to persevere through difficult things. It’s probably effective in motivating a lot of folks, but I have to admit that when I looked at, my first thought was: “But where does the strength come from to take that additional step?” In other words, when we feel like we’ve reached the end of our endurance, where do we go to get the strength to persevere?

Fortunately for us, the Apostle Paul shares the answer to that question. Listen to how he talks about it in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, where he writes:  “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so much so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who is able to raise the dead.”

I think a lot of us would consider the Apostle Paul the “Iron Man” of the New Testament. He kept going every day - despite overwhelming hardships and opposition – through success and failure. But despite Paul's “Iron Man” spirit, there was still a time when even he was ready to throw in the towel. And when that happened, when Paul thought he could not take one more step, he discovered that the power to persevere comes from relying on the power of God.

That’s what he was telling us in this passage from 2 Corinthians - if God can raise the dead, it’s no problem for Him to give us the strength to take one more step in whatever situation we’re facing. In other words, God is not limited in the power He has available, so He is able to supply us with the strength we need to persevere. The challenge is, we need to turn to Him, ask for His help, and then accept it. And I say that’s a “challenge” because all-too-often, when we face situations or circumstances that we think we can’t handle, we turn to things other than God. But what we soon find out is that other things might temporarily distract us, but turning anywhere other than to God dishonors Him and does not provide lasting help or strength for us – so we’re quickly empty again.

God will help us take one more step through our illness. He will help us take one more step in our heartache. He will help us take one more step in healing broken relationships. He will help us take one more step in persevering in purity. He will help us take one more step in our singleness, our parenting, our marriage, our work - in whatever our challenge is. No matter what difficult things we face, with God's powerful help we can keep going.

So today, no matter what’s going on in our lives, let’s remember that the One who is able to raise the dead is also the One who supplies our strength. And with that in mind, let’s ask Him to help us take one more step.




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