I’m watching an ultra-series on Amazon Video. Each episode showcases some sort of incredible long-distance endurance race…mountain biking, swimming, running, all kinds of ultra-marathons. Ultra-marathons are 50 kilometers to over 100-mile races. Yes, a little crazy, but great feats of endurance. What’s fascinating to me are the lessons learned when the endurance athletes are tired and suffering. It’s at their time of deepest suffering that they pull from deep within themselves to endure the pain and suffering. It’s not much different from the pain and suffering each of us experience with living life on this planet. The only difference is, as a Christ follower, we receive our strength from a great, merciful, and mighty God who leads us through the suffering. Perseverance definitely needs to be learned. It is a basic spiritual formation principle, as a disciple of Christ.
God is the architect and directs everything in our lives. And that includes tests and trials. A test is nothing more than revealing where we actually are in our process of learning. A race tests the athlete. A pop quiz tells the classroom teacher where the student is in the learning process. Storms reveal the foundation of our house. God’s desire is we all grow in our faith and trust in Him. And often our growth is illuminated through a test. We have the privilege of these tests and trials when we come into relationship with Him and serve Him. One of the greatest characteristics of serving Him is the ability to persevere through every struggle we face.
Jesus uses our struggles as a way to develop our relationship with Him. First Peter 1:6-9 (NIV) says, “In all 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 the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
A real commitment to Jesus is demonstrated through persevering over the long term.
It is imperative we maintain our hope in Jesus and hold firmly. He will do what He says He is going to do. Hebrews 3:6 (NIV) says, “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” Every situation has the opportunity in perseverance to build trust and hold firm. In other words, teaching us “to not quit”!
God gives us the ability to persevere by acknowledging, with confidence, that God knows, plans, and directs our lives for good. Yes, we may face struggles while serving Him, but through trust, we can claim victory. We can persevere!