You don’t have to be a Biblical History scholar to know one thing about the missionary trips of Paul mapped out in the back of a Bible. He travelled from church to church, city to city, a lot. What did Jesus do with His disciples? He travelled from city to city, completing His work in the name of Father. In each new place, new hardships awaited both Jesus and Paul. In the end though we don’t see a weathered, beaten down, sulking man. In the case of Paul, his faith was stronger than any of his day, even still an example we look to and read about today in the New Testament. He was in chains in a Roman prison, still praising God. Christ, sent to the cross, had His Father turn away and felt the wrath that we deserve for our sins. Each one completed his work.
I am always reminded of James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
What is the purpose of endurance? The drive to keep going, to keep moving and fight through the tough moments for an extended period of time. Since my life was changed by Christ I have had many more hardships thrown at me than before. Just recently my wife and I experienced a miscarriage, and we were living away from home and from our church community. It was the icing on the cake so to speak. As we cried, and as I flash backed to all the hardship and mistakes I had made I broke and felt an urge to walk away. To leave, to abandon the Christian cause that God had burned into my soul only 3 years ago. But thanks to my wife I remembered the small and still voice of the Lord. We tend to get stuck in the rottenness of life. We start to sink and when it gets too hard to fight our way up we are prone to give up. I know personally I do as any introvert will do, I fall into my own mind. The mind is a huge battle ground for temptation. It is the endurance of various hardships and trials that allows us to fall back on the Holy Spirit that resides in our bodies. Would it be too much to say that our faith’s endurance is our growth in our reliance on God? I think not, but we can debate that at another time in person!
The point is, that when we become stale, when we stop moving in our faith; we will get stuck and stop producing fruitful lives. We become rotten, we think we turn our backs on God and take charge of our own course. The reality is at that point we are at the climax of the trial He has placed us in. If we are in fact Christian we may fall a little further, but He will lift us up in the end. If we are not yet a Christian than God may bring to the point of pouring out His saving grace on your life and lifting the blinds so you can see Christ for who He truly is.
My wife and I moved back to Ohio, with nothing but a car load of stuff and just enough money to get there, hopefully. It appeared that we had little, but we were over flowing with the Spirit of God, and still are, and trust with blood, sweat, and tears that He knows best. I am now here, prayerfully restarting my blog with a purpose. My prayer is that the Father cause us to see the Son, and be filled with the Spirit. So that we would rely on Him in those dark moments, to get us to the green grass so to speak. That God would show us that He is a God of more than luck and fast food, slot machine type desires. I pray that when I stand before Him to give an account that I can humbly fall on my face and cry that I fought the good fight for Him. Amen.