I’ve heard it said that “night is darkest before the dawn”. Although I don’t know if that is scientifically true, what I do know is so many times in our lives we give up right before that break through moment. We turn back when the mountain becomes too difficult to climb, giving up moments before we stand at the peak. We get scared and turn back to what is familiar and comfortable right before we see God do something miraculous. Over and over again, we fail to endure.
Through an ongoing series of events over the past three years, God has helped me grow in ways spiritually that I never knew I needed to grow. For some time now I have been praying that God would allow me to walk away from a difficult set of circumstances that never seem to really get easier. His answer might be surprising to some, I believe God has called me to “endure”.
The definition of endure according to Google is to suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently. If I’m being honest, I have been suffering. I’ve been suffering humiliation as I have been attacked in ways I never thought I would be. I’ve been called things I never imagined I would hear in my lifetime. Over and over I have seen hurts and painful, difficult circumstances occur from some places and with some people I never thought I would witness.
Does God really want me to endure in this? The human side of me wants to cry out: “God they are being mean to me! They are being unfair! They are saying things that aren’t true. God why aren’t you defending me!?” But time and time again as Scripture always does… the Word of God speaks: Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also… (John 15:20 NIV)
Yes… God’s call for me to endure through painful suffering (spiritual, mental, or physical anguish) can seem unfair. But, God always has a purpose for the pain. It is here in the midst of suffering and hardship that the Master molds us, shapes us, refines us, and continues the work that He started within us. The call to follow Jesus is not an easy one. Often I find myself struggling to be faithful through the attacks of the enemy. My mind drifts back towards the promise of Jesus: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)
The last thought that occurs to me tonight is that we are fighting a very real enemy (Ephesians 6:12) but we are called to “fight the good fight” of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Yes, it is unfair when people lie about you, misjudge your intentions, gossip about you, slander you, or try to humiliate you; but they did all these things to Jesus too. As a servant of Jesus, I am not above these things (neither are you) so let us endure them with joy and prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
If you are struggling in the midst of some incredible hardship, don’t give up! If God has called you to it, He will guide you through it. Remember that God is using all things for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Trust that what God has started in you, He will finish (Philippians 1:6).
*Please take a moment and read all the Scriptural references listed in this Devoted devotional. My words are powerless to change your life or give you the life that each of us needs. The Bible links I’ve included throughout this article are essential to knowing and serving the One true God of creation.