I am not a runner but my husband used to be. He explained the excitement of starting out fresh and full of energy. The beautiful brisk wind whisking across his face with each glide. The pace set and with every step, a reminder of what is passed and what is yet to come. Inner motivation chants, “You’ve got this. Stay focused. Keep the pace. Enjoy every moment.” He reminds me of the rhythm that develops as you continue. But then after so much time, muscles feel fatigued, sweat clouds vision, and that inner voice screams “enough already!” Ahh, yes! He instructs that this is when one hits the proverbial “wall.” He describes it by saying you just don’t think you can go on anymore. A place where, despite all the training and preparing, you want to give up. It feels too hard.
When things are going smoothly in my walk with Christ and the call He has given me, I don’t have to think about enduring. I’m good. I’m chanting, “This is fun! Let’s do this thing!! Woohoo!!!” But then, time passes and the pavement becomes hot. I can feel it through the tread of my shoes. Hmm, what’s this? I like cheering! I like jumping up and down. What’s this and when is it over? Where’s the party?
Hmmm, what was that my husband said? Oh, yes…runner…. meet…. wall. Enter the perseverance phase. Persevering is a term only used when we want to quit. This is when our faith becomes critical.
1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Perseverance is to produce more faith in us, not sabotage any faith we have. It is to give birth to a rising belief in Jesus Christ as we WAIT and watch how He provides and makes a way. How He strengthens us in the tarry of our labor- whether it is a troubled marriage, a difficult job or maybe recovering from a broken heart brought on by the forceful storms of life. Maybe we are facing a temptation and trying to hold our ground, recognizing that playing with fire will not only burn up our own peace of mind, but will affect others too. Sweet friends, we must persevere!! There is great glory at stake!! It is ever so close! Don’t cave in!! Our Father reminds us of the fruitful harvest, if we will push through and not give up (Gal.6:9). He IS faithful. Let Him tell you what to think and what to do. Ask Him what hope means for a certain situation instead of defining it like you believe it to be. His Word holds true and His plan will prevail! The question is, “Will we persevere through to the end?”
But I want to look at another aspect of persevering. There are many things in life that God makes quite clear we will need to endure and then there are other things that He never asked us to take on. Yet we do and believe, because they are good, they are from God Himself. We persevere and ultimately putter out!
Enter the massive list of life! I often joke that we, women, should have a sign up sheet along with a birth certificate once entering the world. Probably for men too! Exodus 18:14, reveals the incredible amount of work Moses was doing alone! It was far too much! His father-in-law, urged him to ask others to help him out. What if Moses continued down that same path. What if he kept trying to “do it all?” I’m pretty certain that not only would Moses have suffered personally but others would have as well. In fact, this is exactly what his father-in-law, Jethro, says.
“What you are doing is not good. You are these people who to you will only wear yourselves out. the work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone!!” Ex. 18:17-18
Jethro continues to explain to him the beautiful benefits of not persevering in things that he should allow others to do. By doing this, Moses will endure in a way that will bring him rest and others peace too!
“If you do this thing and GOD SO COMMANDS you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.” Ex. 18:23
The other misunderstanding about biblically persevering is the assumption that we need to do what everyone else thinks we should do. Remember, we are not here to bow to man’s demands rather what God commands. We aren’t called to do all the “superwoman” things we personally assume we should take on. We are called to do what GOD instructs us to. God. You know, the lover of our souls. God, our Father, who reminds us that if need be, He WILL “MAKE US lie down in green pastures.” God, who calls us to “Come to Him so that He can give us rest.” So, when and if, we hit this “runners wall,” it might be that God does not permit us to go forward. He may force us to pause and take a rest. He may construct a pause, to bring us to prayer where He reminds us that He is God and we are not. He might teach us that He is the only one that gets full authority over our days and He has designed humans to only be able to do so much. To tell us that there are many things we can do but only a few that really matter…only a few that He places His favor on. He wants to infuse us with the reminder that He does desire JOY in our hearts and this is not a feeling but a fruit from His Spirit that is revealed through our attitude. We must remember that our feelings can affect and work against what the Spirit is wanting to do in us…the attitude of joy He wants to produce. If we are overloaded and miserable, there will be little joy in serving Him!
To endure well, we must be with our Father, shake out things on our list that are not from Him (no matter how good they are) and then persevere in the things that are most certainly a part of walking out life in faith. My hope is that we all evaluate what it is we are enduring? Persevere…YES! Persevere in that which Jesus has called us to not what others demand or what we “feel” like we have to do to be worthy.
Take care of yourselves. The Lord sure loves you and so do I!
In His Grace and Love,