Adult Team Blog

Unsung

Perhaps no other group of people are more familiar with persevering in a demanding, often mundane, and emotionally painful world than the community of caregivers.

  • Peter Rosenberger has logged over 30 years of caring for his wife, Gracie, a double amputee.
  • I have a Facebook friend who is over 10 years post-stroke, meeting the multiple daily needs of her husband.
  • My sons had a teacher whose retirement package included five years of round-the-clock care following her husband’s brain hemorrhage.
  • I was the mother of a special needs daughter who faced major care challenges in her 19 years of life.

Books have been written about the blessings that come with caring for those rendered helpless in different phases of life. But with caregiving also comes the difficulties of isolation, identity loss, and exhaustion. It calls for daily sacrifices that clearly represent self-denial, taking up one’s cross, and persevering in a task that will not see its greatest reward until heaven.

Perseverance: What Can We Do When Someone Else Loses Hope?

There’s so much in God’s Word about perseverance. But what do we do when another believer is worn out . . . has lost hope . . . or is physically drained? This is when we come alongside one another and build each other up. This is when our own faith and what we’ve been through ministers to another soul.

Proverbs 27:7 says we are like iron, sharpening one another.

One Thessalonians 5:14 tells us to “encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (NIV).

One of the most beautiful pictures of spiritual assistance is in Exodus 17. Moses lifts the staff of God upward during the battle between Israel and the Amalakites. When his arm is lifted, Israel is winning. Then Moses’ body becomes tired, his arm lowers, and Israel starts losing. Along comes Aaron and Hur to stand alongside Moses, helping support him to stay upright. The nation of Israel is victorious in the battle.

Who do you know that could use some prayer and spiritual support?

A Dubious Honor

I once received an “award” from the editor of HomeLife magazine! But it was probably recognition that no one else wanted. At a Lifeway writers workshop, I was acknowledged to have received more rejections for submissions to HomeLife than anyone else in the room. 

Perhaps my fellow writers wondered why I would confess to the number of rejections required for the award. But I felt differently. I knew those rejections represented necessary stepping stones to eventual acceptances. My perseverance in continuing to push past the sometimes painful “doesn’t meet our needs” comments later paved the way for positive results. I even received a cover story assignment from HomeLife editors who began to recognize my name and refusal to surrender without a publication victory.

Persistent Prayer—Bedrock of Ministry

Perseverance is a steely resolve to keep going because God is with us and we know it. We don’t give up. We battle the problems. We move on in God’s strength.

But consider how much God’s work relies on prayer. And what is worth praying for, if not to also pray with a passion? Let’s take a look at one such account in Acts chapter 4.

Peter and John have been preaching the gospel. The Holy Spirit is definitely working because about 5,000 souls had received Christ. But the leaders of the law felt threatened and threw Peter and John in jail. It appeared their ministry was ending. Then they’re released and told to stop professing the name of Christ—which they insist they cannot do.

After returning to their friends to give a report, continued prayer and praise comes forth.

Perseverance for the Sake of the Gospel

In 2 Timothy 4:5, it says, "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."

In this scripture, the Apostle Paul is giving charge of the gospel to Timothy. And what wonderful words for all of us who are on mission for Christ!

Keeping Our Minds on the Gospel
Who among us doesn’t need reminded to keep our head in all situations? Quite simply this means we’re to stay focused, remain vigilant, and gaze straight ahead at the mission we’re doing for the Lord. Resisting the distractions of life helps us to stay faithful to Christ.

Keep Pressing On
Enduring hardship is part of every act of ministry we will set ourselves to do. We should expect roadblocks, warfare, problems, shortage of funds, weather cancelations, etc. If we’re doing anything of value to the Kingdom of God, we shouldn’t expect the enemy to be silent.

Jesus and Jack

In late Winter, with great trepidation, I make my annual trek to a local accounting office to file my tax return. However, I know I will also spend an extra hour listening to my exuberant accountant share about his most recent mission adventures.

Jack Roach is a respected local CPA. But anyone who knows him has no doubt that his considerable energy and strongest passion is directed toward sharing the love of Jesus through ministry. Besides local work in jail ministry, Jack’s lay-led mission projects take teams of volunteers into risky corners of our globe to share the gospel, provide practical service, and encourage believers.

I know, besides my tax results, I will be inspired by how Jack perseveres in prayer for a young Muslim girl who calls him “father.” His burden and the giving of others enabled her to receive medical treatment. We join Jack in longing for the day she embraces the Light of the World and comes to know the “Everlasting Father” through the salvation of her soul.

The Testing that Produces Perseverance

Early in my walk with Christ, I had no idea how much faith is tested through the trials, heartaches, and afflictions of this life. I had thought you focused on acting out your faith through Christian service and that was the best way to express your love for Christ.

But I had lessons yet to learn, and a gracious God who would teach me.

The frailties of life would become like a “friend” who came and knocked on the door of my heart every now and then. When I accepted them and let them into my life, it also allowed my best friend, Jesus, to work in the situation.

After our son’s diagnosis of autism, the entire family dynamics would change in our house. Sometimes the struggle seemed too much to bear. But it didn’t take too long into this life journey to realize God was showing me what it meant to persevere through faith.

Affliction has refined my beliefs,

helped slough off the deadness of my fleshly nature,

and helped me effectively serve God in so many ways.

When God sends us straight into the storms of life, it’s no accident.

Trust me…he knows what He is doing.

Why Wait?

Do you wait well? Or do you give up quickly if the line is long, the results aren’t immediate, or a prayer isn’t answered? Sometimes the fulfillment of even a God-given vision takes more time than expected and tests our capacity to persevere.

I have been inspired by the perseverance of my friend Doug as I have watched him hold fast and “chase after” his God-sent dream. For several years, Doug, a local architect with a young family and church leadership role, has vigilantly pursued his vision for a children’s interactive Bible museum in our city.

He has patiently (or not!) sought support, funding, and possible locations while gathering a creative leadership team to provide counsel and a support base to brainstorm and bounce off ideas about decision making. He has also developed extensive plans and story themes while pursuing community dialogue and involvement from local citizens and churches.

Never Give Up When Someone You Love Is Lost

Never Give UP

As much as you love your family members and friends and desire for them to know Jesus, remember that God loves them more and His will is that all should be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

View your personal relationships as your missions field. Be intentional, but avoid appearing judgmental. Guard against being “holier than thou.” Always let your words and deeds be spoken and done in love. Sometimes this is difficult because of age differences and generational cultural changes. However, God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever—a fact people often forget or choose to ignore.

Stealing the Spotlight

You worked incredibly hard on the project, pouring your very best into every detail. You dotted every i and crossed every last t to ensure a successful outcome. Your fingerprints and personal touch are splashed all over the project; anyone could clearly see that you did all the work! But in the grand finale when the house lights went down and the spotlight shone brightly, a colleague stepped in from the shadows to take credit for it all. One spotlight earned yet stolen.

When Jesus called us as His disciples to deny ourselves, He knew that sometimes the cost would be physical, like enduring a beating or going without food or shelter. He also knew that sometimes the cost would be to our egos. If we fail to look at these pride-busting situations with our spiritual eyes, then we won’t recognize these opportunities to deny ourselves for Jesus’ sake and our flesh will win.

Dealing with relationship problems? Ask God to teach you how to deny yourself in every situation and pick up a cross to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

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