Friday, May 4, 2007

Patient endurance

Romans 15:4 For everthing that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

1 Peter 2:19 - 21 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

The Bible teaches us over and over that our real blessings are not in the short term but in the long term. Consider how long Abraham had to wait for his son Isaac to be born after the promise was given from God. Many of the covenant promises were not fulfilled in his lifetime but through his descendants.

Job in particular endured great affliction and still maintained his godly character.

We are in a marathon race. The prize does not go to those who run a short distance with great vigor, but to those who are persistant and maintain their stamina until the end. I want to run my race well and I have the road blocks of suffering like the runner pressing through fatigue and muscle cramps to finish his marathon, we must press on even when our prayers are not immediately answered in the way that we pray them. We must press to know the will of God in our prayers so that our asking is in accordance not with our own preferences or in sympathy with others but praying the will of God in everything.

We have a God who knows affliction and is fully aware of our conditions here. It is in the midst of trials that our witness shows most brightly. What would it be to us if we were joyful and praising God only for the good times, our trials show our complete surrender to him in any condition and in any circumstance. We know that we can submit in affliction because he is using even our times of trial to develop our character into Christ likeness.

I Corinthians 9:25 reminds us that we compete in the race and endure strict training to get a crown that will last forever. This life here is short and our trials will seem small in light of eternity. Run with all your might and keep your mind stayed on the prize that we might finish well.

May God richly bless you as you seek him and as you serve him.

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