Keep Pressing On

I think children’s stories capture so much of the human condition. Often these books and tales try to take real life obstacles and put them in the form of something light hearted and silly, in order to help children mature. One of my favorites is, The Little Engine that Could. A story about a train engine facing an impossible task in front of him. In a moment of desperation, our train friend begins to believe in himself and starts saying, “I think I can, I think I can.” I love that. Sometimes in our own lives we are faced with big hills, these mountains of fears and unknowns, but we need to keep pressing on.

I’m reminded of another children’s tale, one that I loved watching growing up. Each week, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers would face a nasty bad guy (It was always obvious they were super bad). I’ll go ahead and spoil the formula for every episode, a formula so sound, that they still use it for the current Power Ranger show airing now. The baddie attacks the rangers, they morph into their power suits, taking the bad guy out, only to then have the baddie turn into a colossal version of themselves. Faced with impossible odds, the rangers fly into their robot megazord and never give up. It always ends with the heroes being victorious and blowing up the baddie (never looking at the explosion cause that’s how cool people do it).

So, why am I talking about train engines and power rangers? I want to talk about the thing they have, that many of us struggle with. We all struggle with pressing on through the storm. I’ve recently been struggling with that concept. The thing I wanted so badly, the thing I thought I was the perfect fit for, it all faded away. I wasn’t wanted and wasn’t picked for the team. I wanted to give up. I’m very lucky and thankful for my dearest Danielle, she was there in those moments and did a couple of things. Two concepts that helped me get through my own storm, and I believe they can help you. They are based in the same beliefs that the disciples and early church had with them in their darkest hours. I hope today you will be encouraged to keep pressing on, the same way my dearest Danielle helped open my eyes to.

Believe in what God has gifted you with.

You have been gifted with very unique talents. I know that God has given me the ability to speak into the worlds of the next generation and empower them. I know God has given me the ability to communicate effectively. I know that God has given me an empathic heart for the walk others are going through. It’s not prideful to know the things God has gifted you with. The enemy would love to make you forget these things. I’ll never forget giving a message for a youth event in late 2017 about fear (It was right around Halloween time), and I had two students separately open up to me about their battles, one with substance abuse and the other of a sexual assault from their past. I was able to pray in that moment for them and I knew God was using me. Then I had feedback from a pastor a couple days later, the only takeaway being that I had talked about a horror movie class that freaked me out while walking home (I’ve written about that story here before, search “Halloween”), in using that example it was not a good thing. In their mind I had said horror movies were okay, but that wasn’t even the point of the example. I was so frustrated, they only looked at a small part of a wider story I was weaving. I began to focus on that, and started to forget about the two students I had spoken life into. You can hate me for talking about horror movies, but I would do it again if I was able to impact at least two students.

You see, this isn’t me trying to make that pastor a villain, it simply illustrates how the enemy wants to shift our focus. We need to believe in the talents God has gifted us with. Focus on what God is telling you to do, and don’t get focused on the things that don’t matter.

Believe in victory.

I love this about hero stories, the heroes never think about what happens if they lose, all they focus on is how to win. When we look at the early church, they never gave up. There are times when Paul is in prison and he chooses to praise God. Why? Because he knows that no matter what he faces he can’t lose. Philippians 1:21 says, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” That is one of the bravest and truest statements. When we have a relationship with Christ, we have an ongoing discourse and calling. To love others and spread the gospel of Jesus. When we die, we enter a place free from all hurt and pain, into the presence of Jesus. No matter what happens, there is no loss, only victory. We need to believe in this. What would happen if you lived life through the lens of a victor? It changes everything. Every challenge becomes a place to grow, every obstacle a chance to do the impossible. It’s easier to believe you can make it through your battle when you know the victory is already won.

Live your life in tune with Christ, and know that in all things, he has defeated death. You have nothing to fear, you can keep pressing on.

Keep Pressing On

I’m so thankful for where I am. I am pressing on. Even when my plan fell apart, it was so much better in the long run. I am trusting God with all things and knowing that his plan will always be better. My dearest Danielle helped me figure this out, and I hope you have been helped by this too. We don’t need to go through life thinking we will fail, we need to trust and believe in what God has gifted you with and that you have victory through him in all things. God loves you more than anything, so live in victory.

Keep pressing on.

-Joshua Thomas


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