I am full of hope that we are going to be, slowly, moving in the direction of getting back to life together. I know “Normal” is a long way off, but I pray we have made a turn.

Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

When I was in High School my Boy Scout troop went to Philmont, a backpacking ranch in New Mexico. We backpacked about 75 miles in 10 days. I learned a lifetime of lessons in those 10 days. The final day we were sooo excited to get back to base camp. The promise of ice-cream and Coke gave us a lot of extra push. Plus, there were no more mountains to climb. It was all downhill!

Switchbacks are a way trails go up and down mountains kind of side to side so you don’t hike straight up or straight down. I remember that last day, coming around the mountain and seeing base camp way down the mountain. Then we switched back and lost sight of it. Then an hour later we saw it again, and again switched back. I wanted to try and run straight to it, but we had to follow the trail. Every time we switched back my heart sank a little bit. We finally made it and had ice-cream and coke!

Coming out of Quarantine is going to be like that last day hiking, which is why this verse is so good for today. I press on, straining toward what lies ahead.

I love this for faith. We can learn from our past, but we can’t hang on to our past successes or failures. We can’t live in the past, we have to follow Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. In youth ministry I learned the phrase, “The process doesn’t always look like progress.”

The process of opening up again will mirror our life in faith in so many ways. Stay the course, press on, and follow God.

Let’s pray:
God, help us to stay the course and not loose hope. Help us to keep our eyes on you, grow closer to you, and see where and how we can be your hands and feet, helping our world to come to know you, and the hope and peace you bring. In Jesus name, Amen.

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