You are messed up, but you have been justified by the faith of Christ. You had such high expectations of what it meant to be a Christian but insecurities have become your constant companions. Despite having exerted much self-discipline and buffeting your body, you have failed miserably at sinless perfection. This makes life difficult because you thought that by now, you would have matured and mastered the art of the Christian life.
What does hanging on look like? One thing is for sure, it is not pretty. You will probably be misunderstood to the point of even misunderstand yourself. All the odds will be against you. You will learn that seeking the approval of others will only add to your afflictions. That’s okay, because Jesus did not call us to be liked. Waiting on God will prove to be a living hell and you will feel stupid for believing in the power of prayer.
All your obedience has brought you to a place where absolutely nothing makes sense. As it turns out, hanging on has become your only option. You go through situations you believed were strictly reserved for the heathen and it’s hard when you feel like you aren’t saved. You feel worthlessly useless. Words like “psychopathic,” “narcissistic,” “phobic,” and “delusions of grandeur” are hurled at you. But you are not mentally deranged for holding on; you are suffering the pangs of spiritual battle. You don’t know how to act but you do know that you are supposed to hang on.
You carry on in what you think is right before God and man. You follow the convictions God has given you by His grace to the best of your ability. You give, bleed, sacrifice and cry. You doubt and pray and doubt some more—you hold on with all your mental and physical might.
And then in one fleeting moment—for one, three, maybe five minutes—you get a glimpse of God’s goodness, His grace, power and awesome provision.
Your fingers start to bleed; your mind starts to slip as your gut twists, turns and growls. Yet you hold on for dear life. You go against the current of popular thought as you bear accusations of superficiality, heresy and bitterness. There are those who beseech you to give up your integrity: “curse God and die already for the sake of relief.”
But you refuse to die.
You feel your soul start to wander. Your mind becomes a circus. Your emotions turn to mush and your heart begins to fail. Your sin accuses you while the past shouts profanity. The present seems foggy and the future impossible.
And yet, for some weird and crazy reason, you stay the course.
And then in one fleeting moment—for one, three, maybe five minutes—you get a glimpse of God’s goodness, His grace, power and awesome provision. In this moment, all the pain is erased. The doubt is gone because you know that all along God was right. You see (as with eyes of faith) that the promises of God hold fast, in every generation, culture and circumstance. And maybe, just maybe, you too were right to trust so radically, foolishly, humanly, deeply.
You take a deep breath, knowing that the fleeting moment won’t last for long because you live in a world cursed by sin and a body conquered by corruption. But it doesn’t matter, because God gifted you with that glimpse—however fleeting it may have been. Curiously enough, that glimpse is sufficient to fuel your engines, stamina, perseverance, stubbornness and adrenaline.
So you go on. You go on from faith to faith, from grace to grace, and from day to day. You walk on the water with Jesus, move mountains, raise the dead and heal the sick. Oh, those around you may not think you are so powerful, but you know. You are sure and know whom you have believed and are persuaded that He is able. Time and again you are reassured that God supplies all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
You have learned that holding on is about one thing—hope. It’s not about being some great spiritual giant, nor having all your problems solved—ever. It’s about God being sovereign in your life.
And all this is for you and me—human, sinners, weak and undeserving.