Forget January 1st, with its blustery, winter-bound resolutions. The New Year should commence on the day after Easter. What better time to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new than with the returning rays of light, the blossoming buds and the hope of the resurrection?
A shriveled up section fell off my kitchen Christmas cactus this past winter. It looked dead. Undaunted, my first-grade son scooped up the broken section, stuck it in a jelly jar of water and set it in a window. There it sat – week after week after week – looking sad and hopeless. My son watered it, but I didn’t see any visible change. Last week I was about to throw it away. But when I picked up the jar, I spotted two red nubs on the tip of a fat leaf. This plant – which looked lifeless – had grown roots! Thin white ventricles spread across the bottom of the glass, reaching for the water. As soon as I showed my delighted son, he filled the jar with soil and set it back in the window to grow.
If you are pursuing a goal, you have likely been tempted to quit. Maybe it is excising more, eating healthier, saving money, or spending more time with your family. My mother’s goal was to help translate the Bible into a language in which it has not yet been published. Tucked among the papers on her desk when she passed away was a verse from Scripture. Written in capitals, it said, “BE STRONG + DO NOT GIVE UP – FOR YOUR WORK WILL BE REWARDED,” 2 Chronicles 15:7.
On a recent Saturday, I caught a TED Radio Hour talk on NPR with Diana Nyad, the first person to swim 111 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida. For the next quarter-hour, I was spell-bound as Nyad shared her journey of perseverance, overcoming multiple failures, physical challenges, and pain so severe that jellyfish stings caused her body to go into convulsions.
After a decade of working to write a memoir about how God changed our lives through our daughter, Ruth, it seemed that I had come to the end of everything. I had already done everything in my power to see it published and could do no more. My best efforts to find a publisher who shared my family’s vision of helping other children through Ruth’s story had failed. Miserably.