Who’s Ahead of You?

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Just when you think you’ve arrived at your fastest pace, whoosh! Another runner speeds past you like a bolt of lightning. You can almost feel a breeze from the force of their speed. You see them quickly disappear from your view and before you know it, they’re long gone. How in the world does she keep up that pace? I’ll never be able to catch up!

Unless you’re the first one to cross the finish line in a race, there’s always going to be someone running ahead of you.  We are definitely called to run at our own pace, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from others who are ahead of us. Beginning runners seek out training tips from veteran runners. Runners who’ve sustained their first injuries could gain valuable wisdom from others who survived those same injuries. The first race ushers in a wave of anxious nerves. What should I expect? What should I wear for this kind of weather? Who else out there would know answers to these questions? Runners ahead of you! Their pace may not necessarily be faster than you, but they’ve pounded the pavement far longer than you have. Instead of putting them in an unreachable category, those of us who are behind them could instead reach out and ask for guidance and insight.

Dear friend, if you’re a follower of Christ, there’s always going to be someone ahead of you—further up the path of life. People who have been following Christ for many years longer. People who have long ago passed through the very same season you may be walking through now. People who have much wisdom and insight to offer if only we will ask. As you enter into a difficult season, perhaps a wave of anxiety is rushing into the depth of your weary soul. How will I ever get through this? Will I ever make it to the other side? And then you may wonder with great curiosity. WHO do I know that perhaps has ventured through this same kind of challenge?

Let me tell you without a doubt that someone is ahead of you that can gently and lovingly guide you. Maybe it’s an older mom who survived the season of raising teenagers. Maybe it’s the woman you’ve heard about who survived her nasty divorce and is on the other side now. Whatever challenge you may be facing, you’re more likely to gain peace and strength with someone else helping you through. So go ahead. Reach out. Ask. Humbly wave the white flag of your soul and courageously say, “I need your help!”

In the Bible we meet a young man named Timothy, a new believer who needed some guidance and direction. The apostle Paul was running his race ahead of Timothy. Paul poured his very life into this young man! Without Paul, Timothy would’ve floundered in his faith. Grown weary. Lost his hope. But instead he clung to Paul. He humbled himself and listened with a teachable heart. And then he flourished into a bold teacher of the gospel. He could keep running his race at a fierce pace because he walked in the footsteps of Paul. Who’s ahead of you?

READY?  Identify an area of your life where you feel challenged and could use some guidance. Ask God to show you someone who has walked through a similar challenge. Are you willing to reach out and ask for help? Pray and ask God for strength and wisdom to take the next step.

GET SET.  Proverbs 1:5 “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

GO!  Heavenly Father, this life can feel so difficult at times! I feel weary trying to navigate through the hard times on my own. You’ve called us to carry each other’s burdens, so I humbly ask you to show me someone who’s ahead of me who can walk alongside me during this season of my life. Help me set aside any pride that may stand in the way. Amen.


Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Desperately Drowning?

I rested comfortably in my lounge chair on the beach, curled up with a book and an iced tea. Almost to the point of dozing off, I was startled when several people in the water frantically yelled, “Call 911!!” Not even knowing what was going on, I grabbed my phone and called.

It turned out that two young men had gotten pulled in to a rip current. They’d swam out beyond the posted buoys that warned swimmers to not go past that point.

The area they were caught in didn’t look dangerous. In fact, upon close inspection one would have a hard time believing this area could possibly cause any harm. When one of the men was suddenly pulled into the current, his buddy looked around in disbelief when he couldn’t see his friend. He frantically yelled, “Help!” but it took a little while before anyone even noticed something was wrong.

My husband and sister-in-law were out close enough to hear his desperate cries and alerted others to get help. They waved down people who were on jet skies to go out and rescue these men. In the meantime, everyone on the shore just stood waiting for a rescue squad to arrive and I prayed for God to intervene and spare the lives of these two friends.

Finally after what seemed like forever, I could see two people pulling a third one onto their jet ski. The other young man was pulled out of the current and able to trudge through the water safely back to shore. The young man who’d been sucked under by the current appeared completely exhausted and distressed as he flopped to the ground, surrounded by his worried friends. He and his friend were shaken up, yet they survived.

After further research on rip currents, I learned that some people don’t survive when they get sucked in to this sudden swirl of death. Last year in the United States, 64 people died from drowning as a result of getting caught in a rip current. People will panic when this strong current pulls them out unaware. Their first instinct is to swim against the current in a desperate attempt to get closer to the shore. But the current is so strong they can’t swim against it and they utterly wear themselves out in complete exhaustion and panic…..leading to drowning.

This scenario is similar in how followers of Jesus have an enemy. An enemy who prowls around like a lion, seeking someone to devour(1 Peter 5:8). The enemy doesn’t usually go after crowds. He usually targets those who have wandered away from the core of the flock. Those who are isolated. Those who may have gone outside the safety zone. That is his tactic–to trip someone up where they least expect it. What appears to look calm and harmless on the surface can suddenly knock us down and before we know it, we’re gasping for air–furiously treading water.

So how do we keep from getting caught in the rip currents the enemy desires to pull us  into? For one thing, we don’t stray off by ourselves. We can’t walk this life alone and we need accountability. We need the body of Christ to encourage and build us up. We can’t deceive ourselves into thinking we can figure life out on our own.

We also need to live our lives within the boundaries God has set up for us. I like to call them guard rails. They are there to protect us and keep us from swerving off course. God knows what is best for us and we need to trust Him.

But sometimes life happens and we find ourselves in a tail spin. We wander off to isolate ourselves. We attempt to cure our wounds with human means. We think Nobody else can understand what I’m going through; something must be wrong with me. And that’s when the enemy sees a moving target. He pulls us out further than we intended to go. And just like the pull of a rip current, he sucks us into a trap of swirling doubt.

Doubt that God sees our pain. Doubt that God cares about our pain. Doubt that there is hope.

What do we do then my friend? Do we give up and drown? No! We call out for help. We call out until someone responds. It can’t just be a whisper. It has to be heard. We humbly admit our weakness. We ask for help and patiently allow God to use other believers to help us. That is the body of Christ. Reaching out in the name of Jesus to bring others from the dangers of the sea…to the safety of the shore.

Maybe you’re not the one drowning but a spectator in the water. Are you close enough to those around you that you notice them slipping further away to a dangerous zone? Can you see them beginning to isolate themselves? Don’t wait until they’re close to drowning before you intervene. Keep them accountable, yet hold them close. Nudge them closer to the flock so the enemy can’t suddenly snag them away.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

rip currents