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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
After battling infertility for years, and finally accepting that I was sterile, my husband and I considered adoption. It’s amazing how excited you become about something once all other doors seem welded shut.
So there we were, a year into adopting a sweet baby from China when mysteriously I became pregnant. No words can describe the ecstatic momma I morphed into, because God wasn’t blessing us with one baby, He was blessing us with two! Oh, praise Jesus. That is until week seven when all my pregnancy symptoms subsided and my ultrasound confirmed I’d lost the baby.
Understandably, I became that weepy mess of a mom you’d imagine. That was the day Philippians 3:13-14 took on a whole new meaning, especially the “pressing on” part. I had a choice in the months that followed: I could wallow and lament (which, I did at first), or I could follow God’s Word and start “straining toward what [was] ahead, [and] press on toward the goal . . .”
Some days this world tangles my heart so tight from the disappointments that I could easily whimper my time away. Boy, isn’t that what our enemy would love for us to do? Maybe that’s why God reminds us that this isn’t our home. This temporary world takes some pushing, straining, and pressing in order to get through. And the more I look around, the more I realize that I’m not the only one facing bumps. We all are. Praise God we will one day win the prize of heaven, because during this unexpected season of my life, I learned that obsessing over my brokenness wasn’t helping me move forward.
Then more craziness happened. Seven months after my miscarriage, we adopted our sweet baby. And wouldn’t you know, as soon as my focused shifted to praise Him for this blessing, He surprised us with another pregnancy.
This is a new year, filled with new experiences. Life may not turn out how we imagine, but the more we focus on Him, the more He blesses us when we least expect it. The biggest challenge we face is keeping our eyes on the goal. This new year are you ready to press on and become a new you?
DIG: Are you facing a painful event you are having a hard time getting past?
DISCOVER: Did the Lord put anything on your heart as you read today’s devotional?
DO: Along this journey in life, it’s amazing to see how God orchestrates our steps. Journal your thoughts a little each day and note what you’re walking through, so that next year you can reread how the Lord showed up and helped you to press on. Maybe He will even clear through some of the distracting fog that clouds your days. Focus on Him. Seek Him. Journal to Him. I promise a year from now it will help to look back and see His mighty hand at work.