I am currently reading a book about the Wright Brothers, who are credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled flight. It had always been a dream of mankind to take to the air and fly like birds, and while hot air balloons had been in use for some time, it was universally assumed that mechanical human flight was impossible.
In my work as a missionary volunteer, it is important to me that I am “bearing fruit” and getting things done in spreading the gospel. But just like when one plants a pear tree and it takes four to six years before it produces fruit,1 sometimes I don’t see the fruit of my work right away, and that can get discouraging.
In the book of Genesis, chapter 12, when Abraham was 75, God promised him descendants. And again in chapter 13. “Some time later,” in chapter 15, God promised him a son and descendants as numerous as the stars. In chapter 16, when Abraham was 86, he fathered Ishmael, but God told him he was not the promised son. In chapter 17, Abraham was 99 years old, and God again promised him a son and “countless descendants,” and then once more in chapter 18. Finally, in chapter 21, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90, Isaac was born. Abraham had continued to believe God’s word as the years and even decades passed, and he reaped the blessing in God’s time.
Did you ever hear about the young man named Kyle MacDonald who traded a paperclip for one item after the other until he was able to get his own house? Surprisingly, it only took him 14 trades to achieve his goal one year after he started. His journey was: clip to pen, to doorknob, to stove, to generator, to keg of beer, to snowmobile, to trip to Yahk, to panel truck, to recording contract, to one-year rent of an apartment in Phoenix, to an afternoon with Alice Cooper, to a motorized snow globe, to a speaking role in a movie, to a house in Kipling, Sk., Canada.
When I look back at the crossroads in my life—times when things seemed to have taken a wrong turn or my plans and goals were dealt a severe blow—I realize that my faith played a major role and helped me to weather the adverse circumstances and challenges.
It’s understandable to look at what’s ahead with some trepidation. Maybe as you look back you see the struggles, uncertainty, and perhaps even setbacks that have shaken your life. Sorrows and disappointments that were pretty overwhelming may still weigh on your heart. That can make the future seem intimidating.
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was known as a master trickster and the most cunning of men. Eventually, the gods were so displeased with his craftiness and deceitfulness that they condemned him in the afterlife to push a huge boulder up a steep hill. The boulder was enchanted so that Sisyphus has never been able to complete the task: whenever he nears the top, the boulder always rolls back down, over and over again, endlessly, for all eternity.
Just before Christmas a few years ago, I was involved in a car accident that almost took my life. I sustained a spinal cord injury to my T4 vertebra, leaving me paraplegic, paralyzed from the chest down, and confined to a wheelchair.
My husband and I moved to Canada a few years ago after 30 years abroad. During those years, I had lived, worked, and traveled throughout the Americas without ever returning to the place of my birth for any length of time.
On a rare day that I actually had a bit of time to do some organizing, I came to a realization about myself (not the most impressive one): I have a lot of “unfinished business,” at least to do with personal projects. When I receive work with a deadline, I strive to accomplish that in a timely fashion. Because someone is counting on me, I don’t want to disappoint them by being tardy.