There is a dynamic interplay of truths, between these two verses. On the one hand, you have a job: don’t give up. On the other hand, God has a job: strengthening you with all power so that you don’t give up… so that your life will shine forth with “all endurance and patience with joy.”
At this point, this quarantine has been dragging on for long enough to really feel wearisome, am I right? Over a month without hugging and hanging out with the people that we treasure. Over a month shut in with no fun outings allowed. Over a month of battling intense uncertainty and fears. Over a month of just everything being so… weird. I could go on, but the point of my post wasn’t to complain.
Rather, what was on my heart to share with you is what Holy Spirit brought to mind today about it all. As I was reflecting on the prolonged nature of this ordeal, He pointed this out to me: He is developing endurance in us.
Developing endurance. This is never, ever enjoyable. Probably not a one of us, when all is going well, say to God, “Hm, I think endurance is lacking in my life. Would You please develop some of it in me?”
And yet, our all-wise Abba Father seems to hold the very strong opinion that endurance is one of the best things that could ever happen to us. So much so that He gives us this advice:
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-3, NLT).
Perfect and complete! Needing nothing! That’s what Daddy has in mind for us. (The Greek there for perfect means “mature.”)
So, in conclusion,
being stuck inside for weeks on end…
unable to do all the usual fun things that bring us enjoyment…
going without the treasured people that delight our souls…
navigating such scary, uncertain times…
…is going to end up being really, really good for us. Entirely uncomfortable right now, yes. But He’s inviting us to keep our eyes on the prize. Glorious, beautiful horizons are up ahead. So much freedom is coming to our lives. Yes indeed — do you know that spiritual maturity brings with it so much freedom?
There really is a reason He says to consider this “an opportunity for great joy.” This verse is not just a condescending pat on the head to help get us through the hard times. God is incapable of lying. If He says this is about great joy, it really, really is. He is doing amazing things in each of us right now.
So let’s join Him in this prayer over ourselves: “Daddy God, will You please strengthen me with all power, according to Your glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy?”
I’m cheering for you! Shouting out a great big amen to your prayer!
Dear one, don’t give up. A mind-blowing harvest is ahead as you persevere.
Have you endured through a prolonged trial in the past, and, in hindsight, noticed beautiful fruits coming from it?