Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Enduring or Persevering?

Greta wearily puts the phone down on the table, her memories of good times with her daughter fading daily. Her child’s choices constantly disrupted the untroubled life they had once known. “I can’t do this anymore, God, when are you going to fix things around here?” she cries as she collapses in the chair, covering herself with a blanket. As darkness falls, she drags herself over to the kitchen to prepare supper for her husband and two other children. How can I go on, she thought.......

Greta hangs up the phone as a tear hits the floor. Her daughter’s ranting now dominated their lives. “God, I KNOW You have a plan and a purpose for our lives. Help me to focus only on You as You work out the details of our lives. I trust you with my daughter’s life.” She perked up her mood as she determined to provide supper for her family.....

These two stories center around the same conflict, yet the issue is addressed differently. Greta is just hanging on (enduring) in the first story, but she is standing firm (persevering) in the second story. Do you endure or persevere? To endure means suffering with tolerance and perservering means to endure while continuing with a course of action. I’ve endured through hard times, feeling as though I hung on by a thread. During my endurance, God taught me perseverance. Using my friends as representatives of His truth, He spoke to me through His Word. Hear Him speak from Isaiah 45:19 (NIV):

I have not spoken in secret,
from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the LORD, speak the truth;
I declare what is right.

We can trust our God who boldly speaks to us of truth, right? SO why don’t we go to Him first instead of trying to fix things ourselves? Human nature binds us, or does it? Read what John 8:32,36 (NIV) has to say to that....Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free......So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. And Romans 8:2 (NLT) says....And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

We don’t have to drag ourselves around simply enduring the pain; we are free to continue on in life with a work of perseverance until the victory is gained. AMEN. And remember - Christ the VICTOR is on our side and He works by our side. Oswald Chambers calls it “spiritual perseverance” saying it is “a call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated”. That work involves praying, watching, waiting.....O. Chambers goes on to say “But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, “because you have kept My command to persevere...” (Revelation 3:10). Continue to persevere spiritually.”

Hannah Hurnard wrote a powerful soul-searching allegory about a young woman named Much-Afraid who needs to learn the art of perseverance. As Much-Afraid begins her journey up the mountain, the Shepherd takes her on a detour through the desert. In the desert, she discovers how beaten and bruised is the grain that becomes the finest flour for bread. She learns how clay must become submissive in the hands of the potter in order to be shaped into an exquisite vessel. 

She realizes the glorious, shining jewels she admires have been melted, smelted, and refined in the hottest heat so that all the imperfections can be lifted away. And she stumbles upon a lonely flower in the desert that survives near a camp of desert dwellers because of a tiny hole in the pipe leading to their water tank. The flower spoke to her saying, “Behold me! My name is Acceptance-with-Joy.” 

Much-Afraid begins to understand that the Shepherd has a purpose for her life and declares, “He has brought me here when I did not want to come for His own purpose. I, too, will look up into His face and say, ‘Behold me! I am Thy little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy.’”

Our own journeys and experiences with loved ones may be very disappointing right now, even hurtful, but God’s plan is already victorious for those believers of Christ who persevere. Can we accept His path with joy? 

Here’s a promise from Romans 8:28 (NKJV)...And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 

Believe this promise from Ezekiel 11:18-20 (NKJV) for your loved ones... And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. 

Let the following passages strengthen you just as they gave me courage to persevere in my desert places....Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you - Psalm 37:5 (NLT). Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you - 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT). I can do everything through him who gives me strength - Philippians 4:13 (NIV). Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT).

Because of God’s great love and abiding grace, He enabled me to pour out my feelings into my writings, making me believe that all would not be in vain. He has given me a ministry that I pray encourages you. I share my poem with you, urging you to do more than endure - PERSEVERE!

Blessings in the Barren Land

There are blessings in the barren land.
The desert is all aglow
Of willing hearts and helping hands
That help make God’s love flow.

He’ll take each one of us personally
To the place of abandonment,
And there we’re emptied of ourselves,
Our wills to His are bent.

The threshing-floor may be the place
Where we’re beaten, broken, bruised,
Until as the finest flour
For bread can we be used.

God may unveil us as lumps of clay
Upon the potter’s wheel,
Where we must submit to His every touch;
His Hands will stamp His seal.

The fiery furnace may be the test
Where our dross will be burned away.
Tossed and afflicted by blistering trials
Will forge glorious jewels one day.

As we walk along this wilderness trail,
Solitary feelings submerge.
Others who have experienced the promises of God
Hold our hands as these sorrows we purge.

God intends for us to climb mountains
And rise to heights of glory.
From there we’ll be equipped and ready
With others to share His love story!

DDC February 20, 2006

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