How can we stay hopeful and not give up half way through the day, when the road to heaven seems to stretch on forever?

What is the goal?

To finish well. To please the Lord. To one day rest in His presence and see Him smiling on us in pride and pleasure.

Those are the things we need to remember when our enthusiasm wanes. The Christian life is not a sprint, but a marathon. And like running a marathon, it requires commitment, sacrifice, and daily discipline.

Being Jesus’ disciple does not change with our emotions or location; it is our identity. It doesn’t change, just as I don’t stop being a wife, mom, sister, or friend just because I happen to be with different people or in a different location. I don’t cease to be a daughter of the King for those reasons either.

Our life is described in the title of Eugene Peterson’s book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. It’s an all day, every day choice. Each day’s victories build on the victories from the day before. And the longer we choose to live for God, and not for ourselves, the more our faith grows.

Conversely, every step in the wrong direction will lead to more steps away from God, until suddenly we realize we’re far from where we want to be. But even then there is hope. Instead of focusing on the problems and questions pressing us on all sides, God will renew our hope when we cry for help. He will answer. He will give us strength to step toward His voice, even if the way seems dim, and will lead us back to the right path.

We can hope when our faith is strong and life is good. We can hope when doubts and fear have a suffocating grip on us. We can hope when we don’t know how we’re going to make it through another day. We can consider this long obedience a joy, even in the hard times, because we know the path will take us home to be with God forever.

David prayed from the heart, “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5, emphasis mine). I’m praying right along with David—show me, teach me, guide me.

No matter what the day holds, we can continue with joy, when we walk hand in hand with the God of the Universe.

I hope you laugh out loud with this music video by Rhett Walker. These guys know how important it is to praise God in all circumstances, and keep on going.