Some people say that, as believers in Christ, we should not experience hard or difficult times. When I hear this, I wonder what they are thinking. Are they in denial? Life does have difficult and trying times, but the important thing is how we face those difficulties and challenges.
The Word of God is clear that we will have challenging times, but it is also clear that we can face these times with peace and courage, because the One who we can trust—Jesus—has already overcome this world’s situations. The words perseverance and endurance are written many times in the Bible. “Perseverance” indicates that there is something we need to persevere through—that there is opposition. Merriam – Webster’s definition of perseverance is: “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition: the action or condition or an instance of persevering: steadfastness.” “Endurance” indicates, again, that there is something we are going through that is not easy—something that we need to press through in our lives in order to see accomplishment. Merriam – Webster’s definition of endurance is: “the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially: the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.”
Where the words perseverance and endurance are used in the Bible, they both carry the thought of “steadfastness”. Steadfastness is characteristic of a man or woman who has not swerved from his or her deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith, not by even the greatest trials and sufferings.
There are challenges in life. Freedom and achievement do not come easily, nor are they maintained with ease. We must pursue our goals intentionally with purpose and determination. Casual inquirers of freedom and achievement will not gain the success that is truly available to them. One must have a goal set in mind and the perseverance and endurance to get there. But we don’t need to do this alone. In fact, “alone” is not the way to success at all.
Our Father God is all about relationship—vertical and horizontal relationships. We experience the vertical relationship as we invite Father God into our lives and situations. We need His perspectives, His wisdom, and His strength to walk this journey. We experience horizontal relationships as we allow ourselves to be known by others and to walk in relationship with other men and women. This requires a willingness to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is not easy, yet it is important. Whether you want to call it accountability, or being in covenant with others, or simply doing life together, it is critically important to have people walking with us in this journey called life.
What if you mess up or fall in pursuit of a freedom or other goals? My encouragement to you is: don’t give up and don’t get derailed from the purpose that is set before you! As I said in the beginning, the difficulties and hard times will come, that includes times when we may fall. The important thing is if you do fall, don’t stay down – grab the hand of your Father and the hands of friends. Repent if necessary, get up, brush yourself off, regroup, and head once again toward the goal.
It may be a good thing to evaluate what happened and what led to the fall—but don’t get stuck there. Learn from it and move on, keeping your eyes fixed ahead and not behind.
Let us persevere and have endurance through the hard places in life—those things that would come to derail us from our purpose and goal. No matter what we face, we can have peace and courage when trusting in our Father God. John 16:33 says “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”