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July 10, 2007

Blog-a-Book: Perseverance, Confidence, and a Sand Dune

SanddunepersonwalkingIn the last chapter of her book, “Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century,” Jennifer Marshall gives a powerful example of what it is like to either continue to yearn for love and yearn for things that haven’t yet come in your life, or focus on what’s happening right now.

This is illustrated by picturing yourself climbing a sand dune. Now, one thing you should know about this kind of “hill”: It’s not as easy as it looks. Instead of climbing on a sturdy, solid mound of dirt and grass, a sand dune gives way under each step, filling in, making every step deep and unsteady, requiring great effort from the climber. Marshall says:

A teacher who had grown up spending summers at the dunes gave us strategy for conquering them. If you look too far ahead up the dune, he cautioned, you’ll only get discouraged when the destination never seems to get any closer. Look down at the ground immediately in front of your feet, and concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. Then take a rest every so often and look back to see the ground you’ve gained.

Marshall comments on this. “Life requires the same strategy: faithful perseverance to keep putting one foot in front of the other.” She is right on. Perseverance requires making each step in full faith that God will provide when the time is right.

Today as I was reading my Bible, I came across 2 Corinthians 7:16, where Paul is commending the Corinthians for welcoming Titus and also for faithfully welcoming what God was going to do in their lives at that moment. He said, “I’m glad I can have complete confidence in you.”

This is amazing. It’s huge. As I read this verse, I was struck in awe of what an amazing God we have and serve -- I think this is a good example of God’s feelings toward us as His children. He knows our pain, our frustration, and has confidence that we will see through our human blindness, our human desires, and that we love Him enough to trust Him in each and every step, even if that means simply focusing on what’s in front of us. Doesn’t it make you feel so good to know that God has confidence in you? Yes, you struggle. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. But God still has confidence in you, and will see you through.

This sand dune illustration rocked my world. It’s opened my horizons a little more to see that life isn’t just about me, it’s not just about what I want. It’s about what God has set before me, right in front of my face, for me to accomplish now. Sure, a relationship, or maybe even marriage, could be right around the corner, but I haven’t walked around that corner yet. I’m still in the straightaway, walking the path God has for me at this very moment, sitting in my chair, typing this blog.

Maybe when we realize that God, our Creator and Sustainer, has complete confidence in us and has the perfect path laid out for us, we’ll stop worrying about the future and instead focus on the many blessings, immense joy, and breathtaking beauty He has to offer us.

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