“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work (James 1:2-4, MSG).
An amazing thing has happened. It has changed my life. I am not exaggerating. I am going to tell you about it tomorrow. But first, for today, I want to tell you about how the Holy Spirit prepared me for it.
The back story is this: For years and years, I have endured life with painfully slow Internet service here in the Amazon Jungle. Just for the record, I live in an actual city here, the city of Iquitos, Peru. Iquitos is the capital of the Amazonian region named Loreto. Our city of 600,000 is carved out of the rainforest and surrounded by rivers. You can only get here by airplane or boat; there are no routes in by road.
I had dialup Internet service here for way beyond the time that old technology even continued to exist in the U.S. We finally “caught up” with alternate Internet technology, but it has continued to be slow, slow, slow for my twenty-two years living here. I am talking about a few hundred kbps. Or sometimes, as impossibly slow as 50 kbps.
As a normal part of life, this has meant regularly sitting at my computer waiting for minutes at a time for a single page to load. If I was trying to access my bank account, sometimes the page would time out before I could even see my account information. I would just have to take a deep breath and try again, typing in my login and waiting however many more minutes in hopes of catching a glimpse.
You can imagine how much additional time this added onto countless tasks. I will say this: our Internet situation has afforded me an immense amount of opportunity to grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit over the years. I got to learn to praise Him again and again when a task that should have been simple and quick would take a ridiculous chunk out of my day. I got to learn to lean into His grace in ways that would never have been noticeably necessary with a faster connection.
Holy Spirit is so faithful! He took this circumstance and worked the fruit of patience much, much more deeply into my character. When I look back to where I was at in the area of patience, as a newbie missionary, and where He has brought me to, I am amazed at what He is capable of. To Him be the glory forever and ever!
A number of weeks ago, I wanted to download a teaching video from a favorite preacher of mine onto my phone. It was the next in a series I had been listening to. In the morning, I initiated the download process. I knew I would have to leave that app open and the screen on, or the download would stall out. So, I prepared myself to not use my phone for anything else for however long it took. Since my phone is one of my main work tools, this was quite a sacrifice.
It took over six hours. I had to babysit the download, checking on it several times an hour to make sure it had not aborted. Towards the end of my work day, I glanced down once again. I was exuberant when I saw that the download had finally completed. This was a big deal, because on that same app, many times, attempts at downloading teaching videos had failed even after hours of sacrificing the use of my phone to leave the app open. I finally had the video available I had been waiting so long to enjoy!
I had not actually taken the time to look at the name of the teaching before starting the download. I had just clicked on the next one sequentially in the order of the series I was following. So now, I looked closer at my screen. I got the biggest smile on my face when I saw the title of the video:
“Never, Never, Never Give Up!”
What about you, friend? Do you need to hear those words today? Is there an area of your life that has been grating you like a bit of sand inside an oyster, like my slow Internet grated me so often? Is there a circumstance that has been chafing you?
You know what? Holy Spirit is doing something beautiful inside of you, as you lean into Him. In you, He is bringing forth a pearl of great worth. Keep leaning in. Keep surrendering. Keep giving Him space to do everything He has dreamed of in your heart. It is going to be exceedingly worth it.
Dearly loved child of the King, never, never, never give up!
(Can’t wait to tell you the end of the story tomorrow 😊. )
Can you relate? Have there been circumstances in your life that have tested your patience for years and given Holy Spirit lots of opportunity to develop His fruit in you?