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Perseverance

“We have peace with God and we boast in the hope of God’s glory. But not only that! We take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” -Romans 5: 2-4 (selected)

Tired from the day at work, I sit on the couch binge watching mindless TV episodes. I know I should be working through the many chores that need doing. Gathering tax items. Sorting through the last of the boxes from the move. Preparing a sermon for pulpit supply coming up. Daily tidying of the house.


The to-do list is long, and the many responsibilities and tasks feel daunting. I wonder how I can possibly manage it all. I ask God for help, hoping God will ease my burdens.


Yet even when I turn to God for help, it seems like my workload gets piled even higher. I want to give up because it seems so difficult. I feel as if I am being swallowed up by the dark tunnel of my hardships.


In my turmoil, I question God. Why can’t God just make things easier for me? Why does life have to be so hard? Why must I endure so much on my own? And the answer came to me as a poem:


Endurance

Overwhelmed by life,

I prayed.

I waited.

I prayed again.


God did not answer.

I questioned.

I doubted.

Still, God did not answer.


It feels so dark

In this tunnel

In which I find myself.

I feel so alone.

So unsure of myself.

Not knowing what to do

And how to move

Back to the light.


I forgot my part

Forgot to trust.

Overlooked the time of waiting.

Failed to listen.

Did not open my heart.

Clenched my fists

And tightened my shoulders.


But God did not ignore me.

God listened.

Got offered.

God waited.


Waited for me to open my heart.

Waited for me to receive God's gift.

Waited for me to surrender.

Yearned for me to be transformed

Even in the darkness

Of the time in the tunnel.


Then I remembered.

Looked back on God’s faithfulness

And I prayed again.

I opened my heart.

I unclenched my fists

And relaxed my shoulders.


I waited.

I listened.

Received God’s blessings.

Received God's answer

Even if it wasn’t my answer.

Experienced transformation.

Learned to persevere.


I prayed again.

Gave thanks to God

For guiding me out of the tunnel

And back into the light.

For giving me stamina

To manage the challenges

And tasks of daily life.



There are still days when life seems nearly impossible to manage. Yet not when I call on the Creator for peace and guidance. I need not endure it alone. When I call out in prayer, God comes alongside me, offering wisdom in all matters.


God helps me to pause, take a deep breath, and breathe. To breathe in God’s peace. To be open to God’s answer for my life… for my prayers.


FOR FURTHER THOUGHT

You may have heard the saying, “Everyone is dealing with something.” It’s true, and the thing is, those who call on God for support and guidance can better manage the challenges. Whether it’s a health issue, marital problems, loss, parenting woes, or whatever difficulties we are facing, God wants to come alongside us.


God never promised that trusting God would make things easy. God does promise to always be near and offer peace even in the dark tunnels of life. When we put our trust in God, we are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. To know that it won’t always be this hard.


What do you need to ask God to help you persevere through? Why not write it down and offer it to God? Better yet, try journaling. Find a notebook to designate as your writings to God. Or treat yourself to a new journal.


Spend time each day offering God the challenges by writing them in your journal. And, take some time to write the ways God has blessed you by guiding you through the difficult times. Look back on your writing every couple of weeks. See how God has worked in your life. Notice how God remains faithful and near to you.


PRAYER

Loving God, when I am feeling overwhelmed by the long to-do list or the things that seem out of my control, please pour down Your peace. Come alongside me in the dark tunnel and show me the light at the end, guiding me ever closer to the fresh, open air beyond the tunnel. I long to feel Your presence as I awaken in the morning, lay down at the end of day, and all times in between. Your faithfulness is such a blessing to me. Thank You for Your never-ending love for me. Amen.


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