“Perseverance and Steadfastness” by Susan Graalman, a Devotional written for the Vineyard Church Of Toledo. Wife to Mark of the band Sanctus Real
“For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:3 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. “ Romans 5:3-5
I saw this photo a while back and it struck me. Often times we like to see the successes and the beauty of God’s outcomes while we turn our eyes away from the suffering. We just want to get to God’s outcomes without having to experience the pain of endurance. The hard work of those we admire often goes unnoticed because we only celebrate their successes. What if we celebrated the cuts and bruises? What if we cheered on the sweat and tears? I believe with all my heart that God does.
Perseverance means to continue doing something despite how difficult it is or how slow our efforts get us to success. It’s another word, I’m learning, for steadfastness, which means to be unwavering. Without perseverance, I can’t begin to know the strength that is in me, which can only come from God. Perseverance is the outcome of my passion and the outcome of my perseverance is my steadfast (unwavering) calling from God seen to fruition.
Whatever it is you are persevering toward, don’t give up! Know that God has a purpose for every tear, every bruise, every hurt. It’s impossible to see God’s outcome if we give up and lose the faith that His strength is in us. You are called (persevere) and chosen (steadfast).
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We hope and we pray and God says, “Trust me for the redemption that you can’t see yet. Trust me to provide.” And then every once in a while, we do. We get to see a big and joyous happy ending here and now and be reminded of the happiest of endings promised to us in eternity. God has been patient with me, teaching me, whispering to me, pressing it into my heart even when it is too hard to believe. God has been teaching me His goodness. I remember the gaping hole left in my heart just over a couple of years ago -a year in which I wrestled to find hope and recognize signs of God’s goodness and beauty amid the brokenness. Though I felt beaten and worn, every ounce of my character having been tested during this time, I learned the beautiful trust and full dependence that came with completely surrendering my will to His. The surrender was painful, and it didn’t leave us unmarked. Each one of us would carry scars from this season. This still wasn’t really the way I wanted the story to end. But my knowledge is limited and God’s is not. He kept reminding me that I wasn’t the writer of this story and that when I tried to write all the endings, wrapping them up in neat little packages, I was diminishing who He was and all He could do. He was asking me to trust Him, to believe that He would bring about His own glory even when I couldn’t see it. A faith that trusts Him only when the ending is good is a fickle faith. A faith that trusts Him regardless of the outcome is real. So I believe that I will see I would find His promised beauty for ashes. It will come.
God is a faithful God, if He said it, He will do it!
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations. —Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV)
I want your love – to be unrestrained – tearing down walls – breaking these chains.