From Patience to Perseverance
Initially, we thought it would last two weeks to a month. Then it was ‘Well, certainly by the beginning of summer…’ Next it was ‘For sure, by the start of the fall…’ Now we are looking to Christmas or early spring for relief from the Covid pandemic. Does it seem like we are playing a type of game where they keep moving the goalposts?
When will it end? We set our expectations and hope on a future date for relief and a ‘return to normal,’ only to have our hopes dashed by the reality of a virus that seems hard to ignore or conquer. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 NIV) It’s very normal to have feelings of disappointment when our expectations are not met. But we must guard against going from disappointment to despair where we lose all hope and just give up.
Given the long trial of faith that we all are suffering, we must shift our attitudes from one of being patient to one of persevering. Perseverance means, “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” We acknowledge our disappointment before the Lord, plead for His mercy and determine, by His grace and strength, to persevere until He determines the end of our trial.
Our hope is not in new policies, better disinfection or therapeutics or even a vaccine. Rather, our hope is in Him and His strength. Here are several biblical truths that strengthen my soul during these days.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36 NIV 1984
… even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. Isaiah 46:4 ESV
For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37 NIV 1984
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 ESV
… fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 ESV
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 ESV
But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7 ESV
Don’t despair!!! Persevere!!!