Life is not easy. It’s full of challenges, and when we face those challenges, we have a choice. Do we stick with it and persevere? Or do we give up?
My mom has recently been confined to a wheelchair. She struggles with severe osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, a shoulder injury that has never properly healed, a herniated disc in her back, and celiac disease. She faces chronic pain. Everyday. All day. Without relief.
In other words, the pain and debilitating illness she faces are nearly unbearable.
Some days it feels like too much.
But she perseveres. And no, she won’t tell you that it’s easy or that she doesn’t struggle at times.
A difficult boss.
A challenging relative.
The effort to lose weight for health reasons.
The challenge to bring up your grades.
Working two jobs to afford basic necessities for your family.
Being a caregiver.
Trying to move on after a death or divorce.
Struggling with isolation and loneliness.
Job loss and mounting bills.
All of the above can bring about difficult life situations where it’s easy to give up and give in.
The Apostle Paul went through many trials and hardships while persevering for the Gospel. Missionaries today persist in bringing the Truth to people who may never otherwise hear the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ, even though some risk their lives doing so.
No matter what issue we face, we have hope of endurance.
Yet, enduring and running the race well is not easy. Situations out of our control threaten to bring us down with no hope in sight.
How do we persevere when life gets turbulent, topsy-turvy, and off-track?
By keeping our eyes on Jesus. The second we take our eyes off of Him, as Peter did in Matthew 14:30-31, we sink.
By realizing that He knows the “big picture”. How it starts, the middle, and the ending. Remember that we see the tiny hand-held phone screen of life, while God sees an enormous big-screen TV. Or to look at it a different way, we see one word in an entire book, while He sees the entire book – every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter.
By remembering that even in times of hardship, He loves us and will never leave us. Ever.
By knowing that He is a great listener…and never sleeps. His “line” is open 24/7/365, no matter what.
By being assured that He’s got this and was not caught off guard. This past year did not catch Him off-guard or unprepared. On the contrary, God knows all from the beginning of time to the end of time. He’s never uninformed, unconcerned, or oblivious to the trials we face.
By spending time in constant prayer, giving thanks for all He has done, seeking His will for your life, and laying down prayer requests. These are tantamount to a close relationship with Him. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are told to pray without ceasing. If there is one thing that has become more prominent in recent days days, it could perhaps be said that praying is at an all-time high.
By reading God’s Word and learning about the faithful ones of the Bible who persevered. To know we are not alone in our difficulties gives us hope and courage.
By continuing to move forward…even if you feel like you’re constantly going backwards. John Wayne said it well when he said that “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway”.
By making sure you have a good support system. This can be a loving spouse and children, caring friends, and a faithful church body.
By being encouraged by listening to uplifting Christian music. The quickest way to fall into a slump is to surround yourself with negativity, darkness, and despair. What we watch, listen to, and partake in affects our mood.
By facing each day one step at a time. Set small and realistic goals.
Life is not easy. Everyone has a struggle, or multiple struggles, that they face on a daily or on an ongoing basis. But with faith in God and perseverance, we can face our hardships head-on and emerge victorious.