Keep Going

“One has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear, but rather the strength to keep going forward despite the fear.” – Paulo Coelho

“If you’re going through hell – keep going.” – Winston Churchill

“Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“Be courageous and strong, fear not, neither be cowardly neither be afraid before them; for it is the Lord your God that advances with you in the midst of you, neither will he by any means forsake thee, nor desert thee.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 BST

“When you go through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flames scorch you.” – Isaiah 43:2 NIV

I’ve lived in Utah almost 19 years now – 19 years I will never forget.  Those years have made me a different person, healed me deeply beyond the surface of what others can see, developed the writer and photographer within me, and provided me with a joy and comfort that’s hard to articulate and explain.  I believe only one person really connects with it all, and that one person is my brother John.

The Utah life-changing adventure all began with him in 2004.  I was a broken, defeated man – desperate to begin a new life out West.  He helped me move from a twelve-story apartment building in downtown Minneapolis (I lived on the eleventh floor) to a two-bedroom apartment in Cedar City.  It was late January, one of the worst months a person could chose to move in Minnesota! 

He drove the moving truck with a car trailer in tow – making sure I was situated, settled, and ready to look for work in southern Utah.  He even stayed with me for a few weeks, making sure all the furniture was placed and pictures hung on the walls where I wanted them.

Every year since (with the exception of one year that was beyond his control), he has come to visit me – the only immediate family member to make the westward trek each year.

Throughout those 19 years, I can’t begin to count all the places we have gone and the amazing things we have seen together – many of them because of his tenacious will to keep going 😊  Often when climbing a mountain pass or a rocky desert wash, I would beg him to stop out of fear the axles on the pick up would snap or we would be stuck in mud up to the floor boards 😊

I would say, “John, please let’s stop and turn around.”

His answer back was always a persistent and fearless “Not yet.” 😊

Because of that “Not yet” response, I have experienced breath-taking views and vistas I would have never experienced on my own.  If it would have been up to me, I would have stopped far short.  John’s desire to keep going through the rocky washes and muddy mountain passes ALWAYS made the trip worthwhile.  Those rough stretches were small in comparison to what we experienced once we passed through them.  They have turned into trips I will never forget and views I can still picture in my mind to this day.

What in life are you going through currently?  Maybe like me, you have no courage or will to keep going anymore.  You just want to stop because the road ahead is too rough and seems impassable.

Maybe the muddy mountain passes through a divorce or maneuvering around the boulder-ridden washes of an illness have you fearful of what lies ahead.  Maybe your financial situation looks insurmountable – too steep and too hard to climb out of any longer.  Maybe the relationship is too rocky, so you are choosing to stop and turn around – giving up along the way.

If this is you my friend, like my brother John, you need to utter the words, “Not yet!”  You need to keep going through the rough part in order to experience what awaits you on the other side of the rocky wash, the difficult climb, or the insurmountable mountain pass.

As you keep going, remember these things:

Something Beautiful Lies Ahead

The strengthened relationship, the solid financial turnaround, the miracle cure, or the inner peace that comes from persevering without fear lie ahead of you – not in the middle of the rocky wash or muddy path you find yourself in currently.  You will never experience what’s in store for you down the road if you quit in the middle of difficulty.  Only when you say, “Not yet” can you experience the beauty of what lies further down the road.

“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have embraced it yet. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” – Philippians 3:13 ISV

“Faith tells me no matter what lies ahead of me, God is already there.” – Tobymac

The Road Never Ends

One thing I love about traversing the backcountry of Utah is the roads just keep going.  The landscape seems vast and limitless.  The same holds true to the temporal roads we traverse here in this world and their connection to the eternal roads we have yet to experience.

If the road never ends my friend, why stop now out of fear?  If the road never ends, why let the rocky washes and muddy passes get in the way?  Why quit at all?  Why let uncertainty and improbability bring your journey to a halt?

Say, “Not yet!” and keep going through them!  What seems impassable, impossible, irrevocable, and final is nothing but a temporary illusion.  The road ahead goes on and on and on my friend….

“Life is an adventure.  I can only wonder what treasure awaits the top of the path!” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…. Not going all the way and not starting.” – Buddha

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one.  We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back.  Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on.  Maybe what matters is that we embark.” – Barbara Hall

Take a moment today and envision the endless road.  Keep going through the rough patches.  Don’t let the large boulders in the wash bed slow you down.  Don’t get stuck in the muddy aspects of all that encompasses our temporal paths.  Keep going through it! Keep pressing on!  Don’t let the fear and uncertainty stop you.  If the road keeps going, why stop or turn around?

Say, “Not yet” and experience the beautiful things that only those who keep going get to see my friend.

God bless you all as you fearlessly travel the endless road 🙂

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