Overcoming the Anticlimactic
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:5-7
Today the PAYH bike riders complete the 650 mile Bike Challenge from Key West to Vidalia, a significant accomplishment to say the least! You have had similar achievements in your own life; not always a strenuously physical one like this, but something for which you prepared with great time, mental and/or physical commitment, met or exceeded your expectations, relished your victory, and kudos from others; and then soon after experienced anticlimax. The blush of victory fades in the days and weeks following as the “drudge of the ordinary” returns.
The anticlimactic experience can lead to deleterious results in your soul. This is not the outcome the Christian should either expect or feel when achieving something significant in the strength of the Lord. When, believing it is His will for you, you pray for God to bless your endeavor, give you strength to succeed, and do it for His glory, should anticlimax ever be your experience coming down the other side of the mountain? Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with it. But what does the Christian do about it? This is not what the Lord desires or intends for you after any worthy endeavor. We often experience highs and lows in life. The holiest among His disciples do. It is the nature of sin and our mortality. However, anticlimax, which differs from highs and lows in your emotions, can be and should be combated by the Christian in a mind and heart which strives for maturity. The mature follower of Christ eschews anticlimactic feelings and actions. He combats and slays them.
First and foremost, these are the arrows of the evil one, Satan. It is his way of putting down and belittling the victory God has given you in answer to prayer, that you might return to the same life and feelings of inadequacy you had before achieving this goal with faith, perseverance, and commitment. You must recognize his arrows into your thought life and make a decision of faith not to succumb. Next, you must consider what you have learned by God’s grace from this achievement and how it has impacted your growth in faith. You must be intent on not taking one step forward and two back in your spiritual life. What has God shown you in how the conquering of this mountain has changed you, not temporarily, but permanently? It is not succumbing to the anticlimactic when you build on your experiences of faith to tackle the next mountain in your life with these newly discovered principles from this just completed attainment. These principles from God are true for other types of challenges you face in your life than solely physical, or solely mental, or solely spiritual. Build on the principles you learned; make the transition to other type problems. Meditate on what God taught you, and utilize it again.
Thank God for your experience with Him on the mountaintop, and ask Him, “What can I tackle now with what I have learned?” Look into your immediate future with the thought, “What has God taught me in what has just been achieved in confronting what is now before me? Now, God, let’s get on to that next mountain. We can do this together. There is no time for any sense of anticlimax and muddling in the doldrums.” When something hopeful is ahead, or an event with great expectations is anticipated, after it passes, the slough of despond may set in, which is in essence this anticlimax; the mature Christian confronts it and refuses to let it take hold on their soul.
So how will it be with you? For there is no anticlimax when receiving the welcome and reward of the Lord entering into eternal life; and right now is the time for sanctifying your soul in the midst of this world’s battlefield in preparation for a climactic and satisfying glory. This is not a time for giving in to an anticlimactic type of life. The Psalmist has it right; pursue going from strength to strength on the way to Zion. Recognize and remember the principles used in overcoming in your endeavor, as the PAYH riders did in traversing 650 hot miles. From strength to anticlimax is not a path to give in to. Be assured: You will be attacked with dreary, anticlimactic thoughts. Don’t let them succeed. Strength to strength is the purpose God wants for you. Faith can achieve it, else God would not ask it of you.
“A noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid around the Savior’s throne rejoice in robes of light arrayed: They climbed the steep ascent of heaven through peril, toil, and pain: O, God, to us may grace be given to follow in their train.”
(4th verse of Reginald Heber’s hymn, “The Son of God Goes Forth to War”, 1827)
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