Here’s the truth – the raw and ugly truth: faith is not easy. If it was everybody would have faith and live a godly life. Currently, I am struggling with faith concerning our timetable for when things are “supposed” to happen. This is quite different than God’s timetable. I struggle with believing God’s gonna follow through. Frustration, disappointment, and feeling like nothing you do is right sucks.
In the scriptures, God gave us the example of Job. No one can deny that what he went through sucked – it sucked big time. But God used his life to go through that terrible situation in order to bring about the most perfect example of continuing to have faith in God no matter what. Then, look at Paul: he had this “thorn in the flesh” (although we don’t know exactly what that was) but God used him to write most of the New Testament and to be the leader of 2,000 plus years through which people that have come to know and follow Jesus Christ. Would he have been able to follow through with what God had for him if he didn’t have that thorn in the flesh or that situation? Maybe not!
My trial for my entire adult life, and the sucky part of my life, has been not having financial success. It seems like no matter what we do to follow the Biblical principles of finance as much as possible, we are attacked. Frankly, it sucks. But am I not going to serve God or follow him because of this? NO! I’m going to have faith in God. Satan is not gonna win – he will not have victory!!! And maybe I’m going through the current situation so I will be open and transparent because somebody might need to know that you could have joy in your life during times of trial while walking the path God has set before you. I know that might sound like an oxymoron but you could have joy and go through trials at the same exact time.
At the very least I want my kids to look back and say they didn’t realize life was as heavy as it truly was because their parents were joyful and still followed God, no matter what. A word that is repeating in my mind is ‘perseverance’. The dictionary defines perseverance as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” I’ve done a lot of things: I own my own business, my husband owns his own business, and let me tell you that entrepreneurship takes a lot of faith and a lot of perseverance. There’s no guaranteed paycheck, there’s no guaranteed business coming in – it’s all putting yourself out there 110% every day and having the tenacity to continue when it is hard. One of the reasons I am most frustrated at this moment is because I am giving a 110% and putting myself out there and people say “you’re doing all the right things” and the results aren’t equating to match up with the effort. Then I thought about God: He puts in more than a 100% effort into loving us, carrying for us, letting us grow. His “paycheck” is a soul that commits themselves to Him. Yet the results of that effort are often unrewarded – not everyone appreciates His sacrifice or commits themselves to Him. Still, this doesn’t stop God from his continued pursuit to make the way to His kingdom possible. Wow! We serve a loving God.
James writes in chapter 1, verses 2-4, “consider it joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
So, today it might feel like my world is not in sync and things aren’t going the way they should in my mind but I am going to praise God and I’m going to rejoice in my salvation. And I and making a declaration publicly on this blog that I will continue to do what is right even when it sucks. I do hope and pray that whatever you are going through (be it related to finances, health, relationships, or whatever that sucks for you, because we all have something) that you may be encouraged to shout praises to God from the rooftop and say “God is good all the time all the time God is good” until you believe it. Sing “Jesus loves me” over and over again until you believe it. Say, “I will trust you God” out loud to yourself until you give yourself no other words to say. For me, I’m gonna can keep saying to myself over and over again “perseverance, perseverance, perseverance…..”
I’m not a runner, but I totally get the analogy that life is not a sprint, it is a marathon – there’s going to be peaks and valleys. Hebrews 12:1 reminds us “and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
- Romans 5:4 – “perseverance character and character hope”
- 2nd Thessalonians 3:5 – “may the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ perseverance.”
- James 5:11 – “as you know, we count as blessed those who have preserved. You may have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
- 2 Peter 1:5 – 8 – “… Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to the goodness, knowledge; and to the knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; And to godliness, mutual affection, and to mutual affection, love. For if you process these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
For me, the word of God doesn’t get more powerful than that. Like I said in the beginning, if faith was easy everybody would have it. But the difference is to do so with perseverance and to continually seek God! Oh, the reward will be great. I have to believe that and I want you to be encouraged to believe that.
Have perseverance, my friends, and let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. Through it all, our life will be made radiant.