The world is a repetitive place. Life moves along in days, seasons, and years. Each day we get up, eat three meals, and go to bed again only to repeat it tomorrow. King Solomon recognized this: “The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5-7)
At times it feels like we’re getting nowhere. Am I the only one who sometimes delays going to bed because that means everything will be undone again when I get up in the morning? Solomon called it all “Vanity of vanities.”
Naturally we are tempted to wish that life wasn’t all repetition. It sounds more inviting to have big events frequently, with only a little repetition thrown in to keep from getting overwhelmed. God had a different plan. The physical realm repeats itself as an indicator of the Spiritual.
But how do we run a race of life and not burn out: when we can never see the end, when it’s constantly repeating, when it feels as if we are continually set back where we started? We cannot strain ahead and know the completion. Only God is aware of our time-table. We may fear burnout but still must pour all energy into the here and now.
Rather than set us back, the repetition of life is what moves us forward. We must repeat godliness over and over until we die: then we will know that we have finished the race well, by God’s grace.
God is working on my heart, teaching me to accept that small, daily faithfulness is what is truly important. It is the continual repetition that proves where a heart is at. The repetition of sin proves a heart enslaved to sin. The repetition of righteous proves a heart in love with God. If we give up after one try, we’ll find ourselves right back where we thought we had left. If we keep going, continually repeating what we already thought was done, we will find our hearts in a better place. Everyone wants final completion while what we need is continuing faithfulness.
How long will the repetition last? It is impossible to say. So we strain ahead to the next moment and do it all again. It it eternity before our eyes and in our hearts.
“To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”
Are we discouraged because life feels like “again and again and again”? Keep doing it faithfully. Keep doing it for the Lord. Keep doing it again. We can’t look at the big picture unless we look at the next step, and eventually the next step will take us into eternity.