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James 5:11; Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.  Only by Job’s suffering could he intimately experience and comprehend the Lord as compassionate and merciful.  

Charles Spurgeon said, “In shunning a trial, we are seeking to avoid a blessing.”  Patience and perseverance is a rare commodity in this technologically advanced world and microwave society.  Travel, communication, and basic daily chores are incredibly time efficient, if not instantaneous.  

The result is, we are not being trained in perseverance.  We are not used to pains that can’t be relieved quickly.  We are not accustomed to problems that can’t be corrected in short order.  When the problems of life come, you and I send up prayers with the same expectations as when we press the buttons on our microwaves.  We say to ourselves, “Within a few seconds or so, this omnipotent God that we serve will be all over this and have it straightened out in no time.”

But God doesn’t usually work that way.  He is thorough and precise, and He will not be rushed.  The time cannot be shortened and our growth cannot come more quickly.  We must learn perseverance!

There is no way to become a mature Christian without trials.  We may pray for Christlike character and hope it will come by spiritual osmosis, but, most often, it will not!  God’s plan for all His people is trial by fire. Matthew 3:11; “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” It is the only way to burn away the flesh and reveal the spirit.  It is the only way to grow and mature in Christ. No one has ever become a true disciple without perseverance and no one has ever persevered without pain and suffering.

One of the greatest – if not the greatest – trial I experienced, and had to experience, was incarceration.  If you don’t learn perseverance, and learn it quick in prison, you will soon be headed for the “bam bam room” wearing the “bam bam suit” (prison-speak for insanity).  As the Holy Spirit gave me supernatural strength to endure, I began to experience God’s love, forgiveness, and His amazing grace and mercy like I never knew before.

What is our reaction to trials?  Do we expect instantaneous answers to our prayers? If so, more often than not, we will be disappointed.  We have to change our perspective.  Rather than looking for an escape, look for the benefit of the trial and let patience and endurance have its perfect result.  Ask God what He’s accomplishing in you and then participate in it willingly. If you allow God to teach perseverance in you, you will be a rarity in this world, but well fit for the Kingdom of God.  Psalm 66:12 says “we went through the fire”, and for this we are being prepared every day

Several years ago, I read something in the Daily Bread that I would like to share with you, regarding this business of persevering through the fire:  

The refining process may be very painful, but it will not destroy us, for the Refiner sits by the furnace, tending the flame.  He will not allow us to be tried beyond our endurance; it is for our own good.  We may not understand why we have to endure such misery year after year. The ordeal seems endless and pointless.  Our days are wasted, or so it appears.  We feel as though we are doing nothing of lasting significance.  But God is doing what matters.  We are being refined.  He is placing us into a crucible in which we acquire patience, meekness, humility, compassion, perseverance, and the other quiet virtues our souls naturally lack. So, don’t be afraid and don’t fret.  Your present trial, as painful as it may be, has been screened through God’s wisdom and love.  The Refiner sits by the crucible tempering the flames, monitoring the process, and waiting patiently until He sees His face mirrored on the surface.

May His face be mirrored in you today!

Persevering to the end,

Steve Malek