FIRST-PERSON: Eyes on the prize
LEBANON, Tenn. (BP)--My husband, who is a federal employee, didn't have to go to work on Columbus Day, which sort of made Tuesday into Monday, if you get my drift.
To complicate matters further, Chuck works at two different offices -- one in Nashville and the other in Murfreesboro -- so he is constantly having to remember where he is going when he leaves the house every morning.
This confusion (and the fact that we are both growing older) caused him to worry that he might head off in the wrong direction that Tuesday morning. Therefore, my parting words to him were, "Remember where you're going."
After he left, those words kept playing through my mind. They were a great reminder for me as well as for Chuck, even though I wasn't physically going anywhere. As I pondered this thought over the following days, I saw more and more application for their truth.
We all need to have a destination in sight. We all need to remember where we're going.
But that seems to be a problem for many of us. We seem to travel through life without direction. Is it any wonder that we take so many turns that lead us down dead ends and unpaved rabbit trails? Every pothole can seem like the end of the road. Every flat tire points to an impossible failure. We can't see beyond the moment because we have our eyes fixed on our latest discouragement or catastrophe. We are nearsighted drivers without a map to direct our journey.
As I considered the importance of keeping my eyes on the prize, two very opposite examples were playing out on the nation's television screens.
The first scenario was the terrible tragedy of the young college student who took his life after being humiliated. Two other college students filmed him in a sexual encounter with another young man and posted the whole thing on the Internet. As you might expect, he was devastated. But the real tragedy was that he couldn't see beyond that moment. He didn't know there was more to come and that he wouldn't be stuck in that terrible spot forever. He couldn't see that there was still a future that could carry him past his pain, so he chose to end his journey.
The second story was a much happier one -- the rescue of the miners in Chile. Trapped for more than two months in the tomb-like prison of their collapsed mine, they were able to keep their thoughts on the future. They sent notes to their families; they dreamed of breathing the fresh air of freedom; and they kept hope alive. I imagine it would have been very easy to give up especially in the first days when no help appeared to be coming.
Yet they survived, and their joyful faces proved to be shining examples of what it looks like to reach your destination -- the joy of hope fulfilled.
What a contrast! What a difference hope makes. But that's what faith does for us. It's the light at the end of the dark tunnel, the promise of things to come. "Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen," Hebrews 11:1 tells us.
As believers in Christ, our faith is sure, as real in our present troubles as it will be in the future. We can trust that the finish line is there and we can keep our eyes fixed upon it, even in our most desperate situations.
Did you watch as one of the miners fell to his knees as he exited the pod and thanked God for his rescue? I don't know about you, but I want to keep that image in my mental photo album for the next time I feel hopeless. It will help me fix my eyes on the prize -- Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of my race. I hope He is yours. If so, remember where you're going. The destination makes every moment of your journey worth the trip.
Lisa Huddleston is a writer who lives with her husband Chuck, their three kids, two dogs and two cats on a farm near Lebanon, Tenn.