“How long will I have to endure these hardships?” This is a question that we all ask at some point in our lives. It may be financial, health related, or issues with a relationship. Whatever the case, we just want it to be over.
If you’ve ever been sick or in pain at night, you really understand this. There’s nothing to do but to endure, and the seconds seem like hours. The darkness seems to close in around you, and it is not comforting. You feel alone, hurting, and nothing works. You pray, but your mind goes back to the pain.
Many of us know of older folks who sit alone, day after day, longing for someone to visit them. And it’s not just older people who are lonely. We all long to be loved and to be a part of other’s lives. Again, when you are alone, the time passes slowly.
Then there is the opposite situation, where we seem to have no time to ourselves, or to take care of the things that are important. One of the biggest excuses heard for not attending Church is that we are too busy, and need that time to spend on ourselves, or our family.
Our lives are dictated, it seems, by time. We carry our phones with us wherever we go, and imbedded in them is our schedule. It tells us when to get up, when to meet someone, when to go to the doctor, and when to go to bed. Some have their day planned to the minute, and this goes for every day of the month and year.
It is interesting that God starts the Bible by telling us about time. “In the beginning,” is not an unusual place to start, except God existed before the beginning. God has always been and always will be. He is eternal. Of course, this is a concept we can’t fathom, since we put everything in the context of time. Peter tells us, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” (2 Peter 3:8).
God’s ways are not our ways, and His time is not our time. Giving God control of our daily activities is not something we want to do. We want to be in control. We don’t want to have to wait until morning to go to the doctor for our pain. When someone interrupts our schedule, we have little patience for their intrusion.
God develops us throughout our lives, giving us trials to strengthen us. Two characteristics that we told to develop are patience and endurance. The dictionary defines patience as, “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” The definition of endurance is, “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.”
We are in the end times, awaiting Jesus’ return. God gave us the book of Revelation to help us see what will happen and to prepare for these times. It’s interesting that Revelation 14:12 tells us what it will take to maintain our faith in time of Tribulation. The NIV says that it calls for patient endurance to do this, while the NASB calls it persistence. Looking at it in this way gives us an idea of the tough-mindedness we must develop in our lives. A mindset that keeps us going forward, no matter what we face. To keep our eyes on the goal without wavering will be our true test.
We use the scripture “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2) as a theme, along with the definition of being tactical. That definition is, “aiming at an end beyond the immediate action.” To achieve our goal, we must wait on God and His timing. It’s not fun, or convenient many times, but we know that God means it as the best for us. Work on these traits, and whenever you are tempted to be impatient or to give in when you should hold fast, get tough!