To everyone who conquers, I will give to eat from the tree of life ... --Revelation 2:7
To overcome is simply to go across a barrier – to stay the distance despite the obstacles and myriad complications. Consider how inspired we are by the adventurer who faces danger, hunger, thirst, weariness, boredom, freezing temperatures, isolation, loneliness, in order to cross the Himalayas in the middle of the frigid winter. The looming difficulties can leave their spirits feeling famished. It can be tempting to think that their fearful emptiness could be assuaged if they would simply stop the journey, but when they overcome the mountains and find themselves on the other side, they realize that the food of ‘quitting’ that seemed so promising in the midst of trouble is nothing in comparison to the feeling of life pumping, pulsing, and throbbing within them after having completed the expedition. What beats through the fibers of their being then is the life of God – and that life restores and nourishes what has been depleted.
It is always tempting to stop too soon. It may be a project we are working on, a new product we are creating, a fresh relationship we are fostering, or a deeper attention to our spirit that we are seeking to attain. We begin energetically and eagerly, but can so easily find ourselves giving up before we reach the end. Then, because our spirits feel weak and uneasy we try to swathe ourselves by justifying why we were unable to go the full measure, or we distract ourselves in order to turn our awareness away from the emptiness we feel. It might be good to remember that quitting too early is its own ‘food’ for us, but it pales in the possibility of receiving the food of that tree of life that waits for us just across the great divide.
O God, save me from settling for the food that merely fills, but does not satisfy. Give me the courage to face the deepest hunger in order to know the fullest life.
These meditations by Renee Miller first appeared at explorefaith.org
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