… but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)
Our local county fair just finished last week. My two oldest grandchildren were participants, as they have been for several years. Their first foray when they were younger with bucket calves where they received participation ribbons. But when they were old enough, each began participating in showing cattle and swine.
At first, there were red ribbons mixed with a few blue. Then there came blue ribbons mixed with a few purple ribbons. This year there were first purples along with Reserve and Grand Champion ribbons. It was a good fair for them.
This achievement didn’t happen overnight. It took a long time, a lot of hard work and even more perseverance. Each year they gained a little more experience in handling their animals. Each year they gained a little more strength to lead. Each year they gained a little more confidence in their ability.
Were there times they wanted to quit? You bet! On the hot and humid summer days, they still had to make the trek to the farm twice a day to feed and care for their animals. They had to haul large bags of feed to the barn. They had to wash, dry, and groom their animals frequently.
And when evening came, they often had to go back to the farm to work with people who helped them in their showmanship skills. You see, they didn’t achieve this on their own. They had help. They had their parents who often drove them to the farm and helped with the chores. They had grandparents who taught them the ins and outs of county fairs. They had experienced people to help them hone their skills. But working toward the end goal was worth it.
As you pray for your dad or your mom who may be away from you right now, there may be times you just want to quit; it seems like nothing is happening. But keep the end goal in mind. First and foremost is the salvation of the one you love and pray for. They may be running away from their faith right now, but Jesus is pursuing them, going after your lost sheep, calling to them to come back to the fold. He will never give up and you shouldn’t either.
Right now, it may look like the goal is out of reach. Maybe no purple ribbons in sight. But as you continue to pray, to forgive, to love unconditionally, Jesus does the same for them. His grace is abundant, His mercy unending, His love everlasting. It may look like nothing is changing, but Jesus is working hard all the time. He will persevere, and you should, too.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
Along this journey of praying for your family, Jesus provides you with the help you need. Sometimes He provides this help in the form of friends or family members who walk alongside you. People who are there to guide you and encourage you. Thank Him for all the support, comfort and help He provides.
Your journey may be long and there may be many ups and downs. Just remember to rely on Your Friend and Savior, Jesus, to do the hard work of walking this path, and to preserve because that end goal may be just around the corner.
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5
A Stander in Nebraska