May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 3:5
My daughter and I recently started playing a new game. She takes her dictionary, flips to a random page and picks the oddest word she sees. Then, it’s my turn. Once I have found my word, we compare the two and decide who has the strangest one. It has been fun and I have actually learned a lot of new words.
One day, we happened upon the word perseverance. The dictionary defines perseverance as a “continued steady belief or efforts, withstanding discouragement or difficulty; persistence”. I knew the definition included not giving up even under difficult circumstances, but had never considered the first part of the definition that says it is a “continued steady belief or effort”. You find many scripture references to perseverance and endurance. God knew how much encouragement we would need in this earthly life, with its challenges, disappointments, fears and disasters, to maintain a steady belief in Him and His Word.
Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:3-5
I have an amazing group of friends that God has blessed me with. We have been through so much together. In fact, sometimes we pray God will give us a break from all the “faith building” activities He has had us endure together. I am not exaggerating when I say, we have endured adultery, divorce, financial difficulties, the death of a friend from our group, sick (cancer) children, betrayal from family members and such an amazing growth in faith that we are all constantly amazed and grateful. Grateful for friends to endure life with, for prayer warriors, for God’s faithfulness and for the fact that all we endure is not wasted or forgotten, but instead molds and shapes us all in our friendships, marriages, lives and strengthens our relationship with Christ.
When faced with trials, we have a choice. We can choose misery, distrust, anger, bitterness, sadness and we can turn away from the Lord. As for me and my friends, we choose hope, character and love. We choose the Lord! What do you choose?
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 3:3-5