“Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father.” Colossians 1:11
I wish I could explain the emotions associated with this journey. I wish I could fully explain the joys and hardships in a way that would make sense. The truth is that no one will truly know these emotions unless they have experienced them on their own. Over the last two years, I have felt joys, beyond anything I can ever imagine and I have felt more sorrow than I wish to express. One thing I know for certain is that this journey has changed me and for the better. I can’t tell you how many times my patience has been tested or how many times I have asked God, “Why me?” I have endured countless days of confusion wondering what plans the Lord has for me. Through all of this, almost every time I really began to doubt God’s plan and His timing, something would happen. Something small, most often in fact, I would actually miss that it was a small glimmer of hope and anticipation for what is to come. In my days of struggle, I was always able to find something that would allow that pain and questioning to go away. I have found what I need to make it through. I have persevered.
Perseverance is “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” A person who has perseverance endures no matter what the trails or how much suffering or grief he or she has to go through. The root meaning of the word perseverance is “to remain under.” What does this mean? It means that a person must be willing to remain under trails, if necessary and to follow God’s ways. The key words here are following “God’s way,” not ours. It doesn’t matter if I am feeling down or hurt, what matters is God has a plan for me and I must be vigilant in seeking to understand his plan. I must remember that it isn’t about me.
Romans 5:3 reads, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” This shows that going through mental anguish and struggling through the hard times leads to something greater. For only in times of trial does one come to understanding. It is in a willingness to stay strong through those trials that leads to contentment. Re-read these beautiful words, “God’s love has been poured out for us.” Do you know what this means? God already understands our sorrow. He has given his only son for our suffering and our pain. He has been one to really persevere.
So how do you endure the pain and suffering which you are feeling? That is where faith comes in. James 1:2-4 reads “whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” The testing of faith is what it comes down to. Do you really trust God’s ways and believe in his word? If so, he is going to test your perseverance. This is the foundation of our trust in God. Perseverance and faith must go together to find that great joy. Even though right now, this suffering seems so great. I know that the joy which is coming is far greater than even my most difficult days.
I have learned so much throughout this journey. I wouldn’t be who I am today if this hadn’t been my path. In each and every day I began to find joy in the little things. I know this sounds cliché, but it is true. I have found that enjoying a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning or spending time with my husband has much more meaning now. I have found walking this journey has led to a greater understanding of what is truly important. I am able to enjoy the little moments, giving thanks for these seemingly everyday tasks and appreciating the blessings I have been given.
So why do I continue to praise God’s name, even in my hardest days? Because I have worked too hard to be at the place I am now; a place of contentment, peace and understanding. I have endured patiently and I am ever so grateful for the Lord’s abundant blessings on my life. If you are struggling right now, I beg of you to persevere through your hardest days. Give thanks to the Lord, put your blessings and sorrows on him. He is there waiting with open arms. Continue to persevere in faith.
Lord, I do not know the day or time my greatest prayer will be answered, so I ask for your blessings in my life. Hold me close to you; keep me wrapped in your unending love. Help me to stay strong in my afflictions and persevere into the path you have set for my life. Amen.