Often, I take the back roads near my house in order to access the main highway. Though this path is quite curvy to navigate, the scenery is striking. My favorite corner along this route houses a pasture where a large horse can often be seen grazing. Two miniature horses are usually accompanying him. These beautiful animals always bring a smile to my face. I go a little further and approach what the townspeople here call “death bridge”. It is a narrow, rickety one-way bridge that spans over the railroad tracks below.
As I prepare to cross the bridge my eyes always come to rest on a landmark that has become an eyesore to me, and likely to all who pass by. Several years ago a garden center occupied several acres in this location. It was sold to a developer who planned to build an active retirement community. The developer displayed his plans, and made a start….but never finished. Years later this project consists of a few unfinished cement walls covered with graffiti and weeds.
For some reason, the builder did not finish what was started. I don’t know what obstacles stood in the way. Perhaps he could not get the financing or he ran into various permit restrictions. Maybe he just changed his mind. Whatever happened, this collection of cement, graffiti and weeds is now only a monument to what “could have been”. I am always reminded of the scripture on the cost of following Jesus described in Luke 14:28-30
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,  saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
I want my life to always reflect Jesus, instead of becoming an unfinished monument to “almost, woulda, shoulda”.
Often, we are tempted to quit before we reach breakthroughs that bring about victory or completion. Perseverance is hard. We don’t even ‘experience’ perseverance until we want to quit.
When are you tempted to quit? Perhaps it is when trying overcome a character weakness or sin; or perhaps it is beginning a new, good habit. Maybe you know you need to find God and yet find excuses that keep you from following through. You may need to resolve a relationship that seems too hard or begin one that seems overwhelming. Do you have a dream you want to pursue…but think of a thousand reasons why it won’t work?
Through the years I have come to trust that God is capable of empowering me to do whatever He asks of me. Yet, there are times I tire of pushing through difficulties, or welcoming new areas where I can grow spiritually. Sometimes I get weary of simple mundane tasks like dishes, laundry and flossing my teeth. Then I think of scriptures such as Hebrews 10:35-39
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For in just a very little while,
“He who is coming will come and will not delay.
 But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him.”
 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
These words help me to crash through the quitting places in my life. And I still hope that one day, as I pass by the concrete slab on the way to the highway…the weeds will be gone and the foundation that was started will be a vibrant and active community, another garden center, or even a pasture where a few more horses can feed. It’s not too late.