06 April 2009

To Perseverance!

"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Hebrews 12:1

Persevere: verb; to persist in a state or undertaking in spite of opposition or discouragement. Synonyms: to carry on, persist, hang on, follow through. Antonyms: quit, yield, falter, hesitate, give up.

"One of the most disastrous tendencies, that seems to be gaining strength year by year, is giving up too soon when life gets tough. What is happening to perseverance? Well, homes can't be homes at all if they are dissolved when problems come. If they are to endure, it means sticking to homemaking when it all seems bleak. Everybody feels unhappy at times... We all admire and enjoy those who have accepted life's boundaries, built within the framework, and become rich and wise, full of love." (From For the Family's Sake: The Value of Home in Everyone's Life by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.)

When James and I were separated, and the months stretched on and on, only two women of all the women who played a part in supporting me through that time-- only two counseled me to stick with it, be true to my vows, trust in the Lord, suffer for a time, be faithful... persevere. The women in my life had a lot of ways to love me- silence, an ear; angry on my behalf, vengeful; confused, questioning; weeping with me... one of my dear friends at long last said something like 'divorce him and never date again until your children are grown!' in such a voice of conviction and certainty that I was silent and shocked. Well, when you ask for advice, you get it!
Both of these dear women who counseled perseverance had known both James and I for at least a half dozen years. Knew us in the AF, before we moved to Texas. Maybe that had a part in it. But they each started their counsel with phrasing along the lines of 'This is so painful and awful, and isn't God's will for you or James or your marriage. But in the Bible I read, it says to stay. It says to love. It says to wait and trust.' The pain in their voices on my behalf, yet their faith in God and his Word-- it put sandbags against my faltering resolve. It bolstered my ability to wait and trust. It gave me strength to continue the race that had been marked out for me.

Is there someone in your life that needs bolstering? Is it an uphill race for someone you know? Please comfort them with a Godly comfort. What does this person seem overwhelmed by? Is there a way you can step in for a moment with relief?

"He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Prov. 11:25

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison an you came to visit me... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:35-36, 40

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief... will arise from another place... and who knows but that you have come... for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14