Recently, my son, Joseph, was experiencing some problems on his job that would have discouraged almost anyone. Some circumstances had arisen in his department that were grossly unfair, and he began to think about leaving. We talked about it together, and we decided to pray for God's favor and assistance in the matter. Weeks went by, with Joseph practicing patient endurance. Then one day, he called to tell me that the very people who were seemingly against him previously, were the very ones who fought for him to receive a substantial raise in his salary. In total amazement, we thanked and praised God for the extraordinary turn of events. I can't help thinking how sad it would have been if my son had missed out on seeing the Lord's intervention in his situation. When things began turning sour at his workplace, he could have easily said, "I'm outta here!" Instead, he decided to stick it out, and to stay put, until God told him to do otherwise. Years ago, when I was about my son's age, I walked off one of the best jobs I ever had. I was being treated unfairly, and instead of seeking the Lord for direction, and trusting Him to help me, I abruptly left, giving no notice at all to my employer. It was a decision that would haunt me for years to come, and to this day, I regret my hastiness and recklessness.
The dictionary defines the word "endurance" as: "The act, quality or power of withstanding hardship or stress; the state or fact of persevering." If you looked "endurance" up in a thesaurus, you'd find words like, "grit," "guts," "backbone," and "stick-to-itiveness." And the opposite meanings you'd find would be, "weakness," "cowardice," and "wimpiness." Unfortunately, in the society we live in today, we are more likely to see people exhibit "wimpiness," than "stick-to-itiveness." We tend to get offended and indignant so easily. We let our fears rule us, and we try to take the easy way out. When we're not getting the right results fast enough, we throw in the towel. We give up on our marriages, our children, our friendships, our jobs, our ministries, our churches--even our devotion to the Lord. We've become a generation of quitters. But that is NOT God's way. Can you imagine if, when Jesus found out that He had to go to the cross in order to save a bunch of worthless sinners who would never do the same for Him, He said, "I'm outta here!" The Lord never let us down, and we shouldn't let Him down, either. Scripture says: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV) If Jesus was willing to "endure the cross" for us, don't we owe it to Him to endure some painful circumstances when He asks us to? Or are we going to respond to challenges with an attitude that says, "This is too hard. I don't have to put up with this"? The apostle Paul had the right idea when he wrote: "Since God has so generously let us in on what He is doing, we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times." (2 Corinthians 4:1 MSG)
If you have spent any real time in the Scriptures, then you know that every time we "walk off the job" in a situation, we risk losing out on God's best blessings. Hebrews 10:35-36 (NLT) says: "Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that He has promised." The Bible is filled with verses promising special rewards to those who refuse to quit and give up. That's why Paul wrote: "We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul--not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us." (Colossians 1:11-12 MSG) Don't be a quitter. Supernatural strength is available to you, if you will set your mind and heart on obeying God, and completing the assignments He's given you. Then you will receive "everything bright and beautiful" that He has in store for you!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I've given up on people, situations, and assignments before You've wanted me to. Please give me the "glory-strength" I need to "stick it out over the long haul." Thank You that by Your grace, I will not be a quitter who loses out on the rich rewards You have waiting for me!
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