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A Long View of Life

Galatians 6:9 reads, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” It has always been easy to apply this verse to my life as I struggle with the realities of life. Work requires patience and perseverance. Owning a home is a constant relationship of maintenance. Helping others is a rollercoaster of victories and disappointments. It would not be difficult to become selfish if I didn’t keep in mind that this phase of life is short and God is faithful to reward us at the proper time.
It hadn’t occurred to me until today that this is a commentary on God’s relationship with His people. Early in the book of Judges, we discover that the people God cared most about are a difficult lot. “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD . . . They forsook the LORD . . . They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD’s anger.” (Judges 2:11-12) In an attempt to get their attention, “the LORD gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them.” (v. 14-15)
It would be easy to conclude at this point that the Israelites were not worth the effort. They were given the greatest privilege on earth. They knew God and had His personal protection, provision and partnership. They were guaranteed success and security as they cooperated with Him. Instead of embracing the privilege they despised it and sabotaged it. They rejected the One who truly loved them and had worked tirelessly to give them a good life. They trivialized the commitment they had made to one another to become involved in silly, self-destructive behavior. Even when life became hard for them, they refused to return to their senses.
Many of you who are reading this are starting to insert names because this scenario has been written over and over in the history of mankind. Spouses can be extremely difficult to love at various stages of their lives. Kids can be nearly impossible to raise at times. Friends can quickly change from comrades to competitors. As I work with people, the same question seems to rise regularly, “Should I hang in there with this person? Are they worth the effort?”
It is, without a doubt, an agonizing question that searches our souls to see how selfless we truly are. It has helped me to realize that God has gone before me in this venture. When the nation of Israel got to the point that “they were in great distress, then the LORD raised up judges.” (v. 15-16) He could have rejected them but instead He raised up judges. He could have given up on them but instead He raised up judges. And the people were ridiculous. “When the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors . . . They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.” (v. 19)
The question remains, why would God continue to love and protect these people? It was for the harvest! God knew that the Savior of the world would be born in the nation of Israel. Today they were hard to love but in due time they would become a blessing to the whole world.
Oh God, give us eyes to see the harvest when the ground seems too hard to plow and plant.

One Response

  1. Oh, Bill, I do so agree. Our life here can be such a struggle, but we can find joy in it if we choose it to be so. There will be a deposition of me where ,no doubt, both girls will be present on April 18. The Lord will have to carry me through that one and I would much appreciate your prayers and words of wisdom. I hope to see and hear from you sometime before eternity. With love in Christ, Linda

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