Perseverance

Facing Life’s Storms

A student whose mom has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and is waiting to find out if the tumor is malignant.

A friend who has early onset Alzheimer’s.

A mom of five children who has stage 4 cancer.

A woman with substance abuse who has yet to recognize she desperately needs help.

Shootings and terror attacks around the world.

Refugees. Disputes about government and division in our country. Poverty. War.

Check your Facebook newsfeed, visit a news website or lesson to a newscast, and be present for your friends and coworkers. Just a few minutes doing any one of these things and you can create a list like the one above. The only problem is that this list could go on and on.

Both those right next door and those around the world are hurting. Struggling to persevere in the midst of what likely feel like impossible circumstances. There is sadness. Frustration. Anger. Fear.

Perhaps you find yourself in the same boat. Overcome by current circumstances. Fears about finances or health concerns or struggles with a relationship. It sometimes feels as though a tidal wave of “bad” news is going to completely overtake us.

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.

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.

Suffering Produces Perseverance for Ohio Church Planter

Ohio

Jonathan Smith is a church planter—which he said was never on his radar—at Berachah Church in Columbus, Ohio. He was serving on another church’s staff when God changed his direction.

“The lead pastor I was working with was involved in sinful and destructive behavior,” Smith explained. “It rattled me and caused me to question things I had never questioned before.”

But in the end, he realized that God used the situation to place the passion in his heart for church planting. “In a very real way, I was called to plant a church out of a challenging situation that required perseverance when everything humanly within myself wanted to throw in the towel.”

One key step in planting a church was finding a place to meet, especially to “have greater visibility, as well as stability in our community . . . to better reach others who need to meet Jesus.” During the last 5 years, Smith has seen the church grow from a house to a grocery store to a funeral home to a private school and now to the city’s recreation center. While he tried to fix the problem of location, he learned that God was “building His church. It is His timing and plan, not mine.”

Perseverance and Love

myMission Perseverance and Love

It was 20 degrees outside. I thought my tired shoulders were going to crumble under the weight of a backpack crammed full of Bible story books. My legs were stiff from the cold and from walking over 15 miles the day before.

Resting wasn’t an option. I was following my determined translator all around a small rural town in western Russia. Marat was a fast walker, and if I lost him, I would be all alone in an unknown location with no way of communicating with anyone.

So I walked. And walked. And walked.

Periodically we would stop at a housing complex and leave Bible storybooks in mailboxes, lightening our packs a few books at a time. Occasionally we would see someone outside and speak with them.

The fear of getting lost may have kept my sore legs moving throughout the day. But something else had me getting up out of my warm, cozy bed every morning that week.

My first day in the country, I gave a small teddy bear to a boy whose face lit up the room when he received the gift. On the bear was printed the only Russian phrase I knew: “God loves you.”

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