Remember all the times when God has been faithful in your life. Remember all the prayers He has answered in the past. Remember all the trials He has seen you through. He is the same God now that He was then. He promises He will continue to see you through every day of your life until He calls you home.
The root of the word persevere is the word severe. We must face the fact that en-route to victory our trials may get severe. Likewise, it is with severe faith—severe or extreme steadfastness—that we inherit the promises of God (see Hebrews 10:36). James tells us: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:24)
If Jesus Christ didn’t abandon you in his darkness, the ultimate darkness, why would he abandon you now, in yours?
Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We shouldn’t be murmuring and we shouldn’t be complaining in the midst of this hour. The only attitude we should have, Jesus says, is one of good cheer.
There is a company of believers, and the number is growing, who have been stripped down to nothing. And in this place have found everything. Everything that is pure, authentic, and raw. Where the shiny lights of ministry and showmanship have lost their flavor and become a clanging symbol in the midst of a world in pain, that are hungry and thirsty for authenticity. For love. Out of the ashes, we are rising, not shiny, but beautiful as ever. There is a move of God coming up from the dust of life, leading us all into the arms of the Father, and teaching us how to lead on in His love. For such a time as this.
April 13, 2020
Bid faith look through the keyhole of promise and see what God has laid up for those who love Him. You serve a God who keeps covenant forever. Having already bathed in the fountain of His tender mercies, how can you stand on this side of eternity, afraid to wet your feet with those short-lived sufferings which, like a little splash of water, run between you and glory.
We say, then, to anyone who is under trial, give Him time to steep the soul in His eternal truth. Go into the open air, look up into the depths of the sky, or out upon the wideness of the sea, or on the strength of the hills that is His also; or, if bound in the body, go forth in the spirit; spirit is not bound. Give Him time and, as surely as dawn follows night, there will break upon the heart a sense of certainty that cannot be shaken.
I say that trials and tests locate a person. In other words they determine where you are spiritually. They reveal the true condition of your heart. How you react under pressure is how the real you reacts.
I believe deeply that God does his best work in our lives during times of great heartbreak and loss, and I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over. There are years when the Christmas spirit is hard to come by, and it’s in those seasons when I’m so thankful for Advent. Consider it a less flashy but still very beautiful way of being present to this season. Give up for a while your false and failing attempts at merriment, and thank God for thin places, and for Advent, for a season that understands longing and loneliness and long nights. Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost.
And our present griefs are so entirely absorbed in Him, that, softened by His love, soothed by His sympathy, supported by His grace; trial is welcome, affliction is sweet, and the rod of a Father’s chastening, buds and blossoms into delectable fruit.