You've come too far to turn back now

My husband and I have navigated a lot of trails together. And whether hiking, biking or running, one thing is always true of him: he always wants to get to the highest or furthest point of the route and he will give it all he’s got to achieve it. Me? If I’m tired enough I can content myself with looking ahead at the peak, appreciating its fabulous perspective from a distance, turning around and making my way home again. Tim? Never.

Just the other day, we were cycling a particularly challenging route and my legs were tired. I was ready to make the turn into the return stretch, but Tim would have none of it. “We’ve come too far to turn back now,” he said.

Since that moment – and yes, we did cycle on to a really great viewpoint that was absolutely worth the climb – that phrase has stuck with me. It's a truth that could be applied to so many experiences of life. 

How many times do I put my focus on the present discomfort, so that I would do almost anything to remove myself from those circumstances? I take my eyes off the end-game, the beauty of the end result that lies ahead and whose achievement is of ultimate value and worth. My misplaced focus makes it hard for me to draw upon the reserves of energy that could be available to me and instead I get the feeling that it is impossible to go on.

the voice you listen to

Relationships are like this. Take marriage for example; after 27 years, I admit that I could have given up on our relationship several times over. While we have enjoyed a great partnership on the whole, that is not to say that there haven’t been times when the pain of learning to communicate well with one another, the struggle to choose to change myself before I sought to change him (and I was pretty sure he needed to change far more than I did!) those times felt intense and insurmountable. 

It would have been easy to lose the long-range view at those times, and to give up before getting to the place with the best views. Now, of course, I am thrilled and humbled that we have come so far. And I’m pretty sure it’s worth continuing the climb to the top, however far it takes us.

They say that anything worth having takes effort. That effort can be uncomfortable, exacting and even painful at times. Our personal formation process is like this, significant relationships are like this, and our journey to know God is like this. The process becomes difficult and challenging and we can tell ourselves it’s too hard, that it would be easier to give up, that it’s not worth the effort.

Even now, Tim and I are in a process that I would prefer to either ditch or significantly speed along. It’s a process of waiting on God, of trusting that God is at work even when we do not see it. It’s a season of being stripped down and holding onto what we know about God, when not much makes sense. These periods in our lives seem to require time, much as I would like to snap my fingers and - hey, presto! - receive both understanding and solution in an instant. It’s hard to hold on, honestly. Yet I absolutely do not want to forfeit the ground we’ve covered by giving up now. So hold on we must.

That voice in your head? That voice could be your deal-breaker. It could be the thing that saps your energy just enough to get you to give up. And just like me hearing Tim tell me to keep going, you need to listen to another voice; one that tells you that you can reach the place with the best views. My prayer is that next time you or I are tempted to give up – on a relationship, an area of self-discipline, a challenging season – this phrase will come to mind: You have come too far to turn back now!


What are those places in your life currently where you are tempted to settle for something less than complete breakthrough? What voice have you been listening to that makes it hard for you to persevere? In what ways is God inviting you to receive the empowering of His Spirit so that you can keep going, to reach the heights He has for you?


Spirit of God, help us to fix our eyes on the far horizon and to draw strength from you as we choose to persevere rather than turning back prematurely from the good you have for us.