Three sticks tossed into the stream, the bridge beneath our feet.
Three sticks into that happy, gurgling Connecticut stream, she tossed them, and we watched to see how they would reappear on the other side, tumbling, rolling in the blissful cold water, the stones heavy on the sandy bottom.
And we watched as only two emerged, silently, steadfastly moving on, and then watched again as another got stuck on the side of the stream, the clutter of debris hindering its free movement.
The last stick gleefully spun on, ever racing, ever tumbling merrily down the stream, to who-knows-where, its pathway delightfully free.
And my Mom points out the lesson -- one stick never made it beyond the bridge, another got stuck, hindered by the cares and the debris of the stream-life around it, and one stick flowed on with the current of the clear, crisp water, free and unencumbered.
It's easy to get stuck; it's easy to be worn down by the cares of this life. It's easy to never make it down the stream.
How do we avoid getting stuck?
By pressing on.
In the strength that God alone gives, by the power and freedom of the Holy Spirit, we press on.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory.
Therefore . . . we do not lose heart.
And though the outward man is wasting away, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (II Corinthians 4:17-18)
It's what my sister always reminds me of, tells me to do.
She looks at me and she says, "Press on."
Says it with her gentle eyes of steel-conviction.
When I'm discouraged, worn down by the cares of this life.
Her words always lift me up again, to where He is -- the words of the apostle Paul that she is echoing . . .
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14).
And the struggles don't disappear, but the load lightens, because I trust Him to bear the burden with me.
I don't need to carry it alone.
He gives me the strength.
The strength not to wallow in my worries, in my fears, in my lack of money or resources or time or whatever it is I am choosing to wallow in.
He gives me strength -- when I take hold of Him and press on.
He is my Strength . . . when my flesh and my heart fail
He is the strength of my heart . . . .
And my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26).
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