For a short time in my early 20s, I lived on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. A group of us shared apartments or rental houses, sometimes not too far from the beach. I would often sneak away alone and stare at the fading horizon falling off the edge of the ocean. I was awestruck, wondering what was on the other side of our seas. The dream to see it filled me with the hope that one day, I’d cross and see it all for myself. Years later, having circled the globe more times than I can count, I look back on those times and smile. I had hopes and dreams, but it seemed like just that, hopes and dreams. I knew I’d do it, but it seemed impossible at the same time.
Now, to travel to the remote islands of the world or trek the Himalayas is not hard. It’s normal. Crossing the ocean and exploring the world does not seem hard or impossible in any way. It just what we do.
But it did seem crazy once.
These days, other things bring that same awe – planting ten major church mission bases around the world, launching a modern church in the USA that bridges the mission world and the church world, building a village home in Nepal for women and children who are at risk of human trafficking.
I can see all of this happening in my spirit. Faith is growing more and more every day. With each small obedience and victory, I can see it more clearly. The excitement remains, but the awe no longer translates as impossible.
Psalms 84:7 tells us that those who have set their heart and goals on getting close and living in presence of God will go from strength to strength. The journey is painted as a pilgrimage, a journey.
This means that we are strong in him, but as we chase God and God’s will, we will get stronger still. Our capabilities will grow. What seems impossible today will seem normal tomorrow. The dreams the Lord has put in your heart may seem crazy now, but one day they will be the floor you stand on rather than the ceiling that blocks your way.
I call it the plateau. You climbed and believed. You were diligent and faithful. You started small and it grew bigger and bigger. Then, what you believed for happened. Then it happened again, and again, and again until it was no longer a dream but your daily reality.
You have summited the plateau. Now the ground is level under your feet.
Let me encourage you. What seems crazy today can one day be your normal. Be willing to start small and grow stronger and stronger. Everything starts with a seed. All journeys begin with a single step. Rome wasn’t built in a day. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Things take time. But while you are building, something is happening. You are getting stronger. You are going from strength to strength. Difficult task yesterday are easy tomorrow. Impossible projects today are completed projects tomorrow.
The danger is quitting before your muscles are developed or trying to lift more than you are ready to carry. You WILL get stronger! Keep stepping! Keep climbing.
Then, once you reach the plateau, stop, enjoy the view and your accomplishments, get some rest, find out what God has planned for you next, and start climbing again. Don’t stop!
You can’t keep starting over every few months. Imagine you were building a bridge or wall. Now imagine that every time you got tired or discouraged you tore the whole thing down and started over.
How long would it take you to finish that wall? That’s right. You never would.
Go from strength to strength. Keep watering the garden. Course correct, replace that brick, and keep going.
Now, one last thought…
I once heard about an experiment done in an art class. The teacher split the students into two groups. One group was to build as many pots as possible They were not to care about the quality, but to make the most they could make in the term. The second group was to make the best possible pots. They didn’t have a quantity goal, simply a quality one. They could make only a few, but it had to be the very best pots.
At the end of the project, the teacher inspected and rated the pots turned in. Once he chose the highest quality pots, the lesson was revealed. ALL of the best pots came not from the group tasked with making the best pots but from those who made as many pots as possible. As they worked, they got better and better until their skill surpassed those who focused only on quality.
The lesson: you will get stronger as you continue. Then, you will excel. Just keep making pots!
Remember this today! Be motivated!
You are strong in the Lord and the power of HIS might, but YOU ARE GETTING EVEN STRONGER!
Take a moment and read the entire chapter of Psalms 84.
Psalms 84 (ESV)
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!
10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!