How Long Will this Take?
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. Revelation 13:10
I’m impulsive and impatient. When I was nearing the end of inpatient treatment for my opioid addiction, I began to map out the future of my new life. I knew I’d found recovery, so I was going to go out and change the world. I intended to put my marriage and career back together – immediately. I began planning to become an addiction medicine physician so I could use my medical education to help others find recovery. I had life all figured out. Then I got home from treatment . . . back to the reality that my life was still an absolute disaster.
It took a couple years of hard work to put my marriage back together. It took another couple of years of medical board probation for me to clear my name and my medical license. I didn’t begin working in addiction medicine for nearly five years after treatment. It was a long, slow process and the only way I got there was to just keep working on my recovery – every day. Yes, it was disappointing and frustrating when I got out of treatment, to realize that my life wasn’t going to be put back together all at once. What choice did I have though? I could go back to the misery of my drug life, or I could push forward, embracing faith and recovery, putting in the daily work of pursuing those things. Any relapse would have sent me farther back than when I started.
Today’s passage reveals this about the Christian life – it requires daily endurance and faith. Most of us would prefer immediate results. When we take a struggle to God, we want the instant miracle. If we’re wrestling with an addiction, we want God to take away the hunger. If our marriage is in trouble, we ask God to instantly fix it. We want to see results and we want to see them now.
God does provide the instant miracle to some, but miracles, by definition, are rare events. For most of us, the Christian life is going to be a long, slow process – one in which we must choose to engage daily. Life is hard. Life is a battle. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. If we want to become who we’re made to be, it isn’t done all at once. We may not appreciate tremendous leaps, but if we daily abandon ourselves to follow Christ’s will, he daily transforms us, even if we don’t experience instant success. As followers of Christ, our job today is to abandon our will for his. Tomorrow, we do the same – for the rest of our lives.