I listened to this week’s sermon as I drove down the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, heading home from visiting my family in New York. It was serendipitous as God’s timing always is because a perfect metaphor of “what are you hoping for?” was unfolding before me.
The answer was easy enough- I was hoping and dreaming of getting home. The final destination included my wonderful husband, a hot shower, a nice soft bed (after a weekend of sharing a cot with a cousin) and central air conditioning. But while driving alone for six hours I noticed that I am easily distracted and particularly enticed by service plazas. Fast food! Coffee! Souvenir key chains! Trail mix! Fireworks! The cheapest fireworks in the state! More coffee!! I exchanged the “big dream” of getting home for the smaller, more tangible dream of a hot cappuccino from Starbucks more than once.
It hit home. I settle for less and take my eyes off the prize all the time. In Nate’s words, “I exchange a worthy dream for a small dream.”
However, the big reveal for me happened in the sermon when Nate said that the life of a follower of Jesus includes holding on to “bigger vision without momentary satisfaction.” I know that’s probably difficult for any of us to fully grasp – its definitely counter-culture – but it could not be more extremely contrary to the life and breath of my generation.
We can’t send a text message without wondering a minute later why we haven’t received a response. We have the TV show, movie or YouTube clip of our choice available on the screen of our choice at any given time. We’re used to receiving trophies for participating and medals just because we showed up. We need our tweets “favorited” and our Instagrams “liked” and if we’re honest, our existence completely revolves around affirmation and pats on the back. “You’re doing great!” “Keep going!” “I love it!” “You’re so smart!” We’re absolutely lost without them. Or at least I am. Six hours of driving without texting or Instagram? I picked up my phone every 15 minutes purely out of habit.
It’s clear to me why holding onto a bigger hope comes down to a question of faith, because the bottom line is if God isn’t giving me an “atta boy” I don’t think He’s paying attention and I begin to doubt what I’m doing makes any difference at all.
But if holding on to faith is believing my efforts are not in vain and still matter in God’s kingdom instead of giving my attention to something small - I see how that’s a life worth living.
In the brilliant words of C.S. Lewis, “we are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
I want to be finished with mud pies. Instead, I want to hold onto the assurances God has already given to us, like in 1 Corinthians 15 and hope for something so much more, so much bigger, than just what I see around me. I want to grow in faith so that I’m able to remember what’s true about God’s character and how He leads and loves his children instead of being distracted by so many worthless objects along the way.