The past few months have been especially full and demanding. This is on top of seventeen years in my role as a Global Security Advisor. Looking back, we’ve probably had less than three weeks of out-of-town vacation time during this period. Sure, the role itself has at times included a brutal international travel schedule, yet this by no means equates to time off.
I don’t recommend this pace for anyone. In fact, It’s unhealthy to the extreme on many fronts. I am just now waking up to the reality of this, and sensing the need to make some serious adjustments. My advice to anyone is to make good work-life balance choices as early as one can in his or her career.
My poor example notwithstanding, even those who are wise enough to have a healthy work-life balance can at times find themselves gasping for breath during peak periods of demand. Many security professionals likely find themselves in this situation right now due to the War in Ukraine and various other global issues. The same is likely true for those serving in the military, and it’s certainly been true a long time for those serving in law enforcement.
Even as I lament my choices with regard to vacations, I’m so thankful to the Lord for leading me to have set aside Sundays for worship and family time, and to have always made Scripture a daily, or at least a very regular, priority. My New Testament reading for this morning was Romans chapter fifteen. Toward the beginning of this Chapter a sentence stood out to me as if it were written in neon. In the ESV version, Romans 15:4 says:
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
When I read it this morning, this statement deeply resonated within my soul. I have no idea how I would have survived life in general and serving others in particular without the hope inspired by the endurance and encouragement I’ve found in God’s word. I suspect the same is true for most Christ followers. Time in God’s word is like breathing in fresh, fragrant, healthy air after spending 23 hours outdoor in a heavily-polluted city.
So much of Scripture foreshadows the indescribable joy of what it will be like for those who trust in Jesus to live in God’s very presence for eternity. The hope this inspires helps us to endure almost anything while on earth. Without the hope and endurance God’s word inspires, I don’t know how those who have little or no hope for the future make it through life.
The verse just after the one quoted above identifies our King as “The God of endurance and encouragement.” To think that God offers hope, joy, peace, patience, endurance, and encouragement to anyone who will approach him through Christ is amazing. No matter who we are or what we’ve done in the past, God’s offer of encouragement for today and bright hope for tomorrow stands.
Like me, you might be very tired right now. If so, I’d encourage you to make changes in your work-life balance if necessary and possible. Please pray for me as I attempt to do so as well. No matter what the future holds, let’s commit to breathing the fresh air of Scripture on a regular basis. The hope, encouragement, and endurance this inspires will serve us well as we seek to love God and love others.