The New Year is an opportunity to celebrate new beginnings. It also provides the opportunity to renew commitments. Although the year is over a week old already but it is not too late to wish you a happy and prosperous 2013.
I apologize for not posting a blog last Thursday as usual. You will find out why as you read on.
I watched on the TV a challenging racing event through the country side a while ago.
…They jumped over huge hurdles.They ran…
…They splashed through muddy puddles.
In wet shoes, adding to the discomfort,
they kept running,
overcoming the obstacles,
going all the way to the finish line.
The race is called the steeplechase. It is easily one of the hardest events in athletics. It is a test of endurance.
Pathway to change:
Life is a series of processes. Raw materials are processed to produce usable products. Students undergo training to become professionals. There is a process to go through for dreams to be translated into reality and a desired goal to be reached.
Process is the pathway to change. Sometimes there are many steps in the pathway. We find obstacles along the pathway to change—hurdles to leap over and puddles to wade through—these make the process more challenging.
“We are all on a journey to somewhere,
and the twists and turns are what makes it interesting”
– Jeff Goins.
Implicit in this, is the time required for the process to be completed—time required for change to take place. When time is required, it calls for waiting, and waiting calls for patience and endurance.
Those who would go the long haul and all the way to the finish line have need of patient endurance. Waiting for a miracle, for a dream to come true, and for a goal to be accomplished can be a test of endurance and patience—just like the steeplechase race and the process to change.
These are the virtues waiting taught me—patience, endurance and perseverance.
Perseverance is the tenacity to endure to the end and not give up along the way—the patience to wait well. There is a difference between waiting and waiting well. If we are encumbered with anxiety and agitation during the waiting season, it makes the period more stressful and seemingly more prolonged.
Waiting well with patience is resting on the grace of God which is abundantly available. It takes the sting out of the waiting. Ultimately those who learn to endure the long haul with patience will have much to be glad for at the end of the race or process.
Lessons in endurance:
In the school of discipleship, there is no limit to the number of times you will be required to take lessons in endurance and patience. But each lesson and test you take and pass takes you to a higher level.
So it was for me last Thursday as I underwent a surgical procedure, which was indeed a test of endurance—how much pain, distress and discomfort I could gracefully endure. I asked the Lord to hold my right hand and surround me with His presence. He did.
Hours later, the doctors said, “Madame Olumese, you were brave and courageous.” I mustered the strength to smile and give thanks to God Who held me in His Hands.
That night was one of the longest in my life, I wanted to scream, “I can’t take any more,” yet what came out was a whisper, “Give me the grace to endure this night, Lord.”
And night did pass because the covenant-keeping faithfulness of God endures forever. With the dawn of the new day came the assurance of hope and confirmation of the victory God wrought for me.
Outlook for 2013:
These and more have set the tone for this year for me. That is, the readiness to go through the process that is required for me to reach my desired goal with endurance and patience.
Each of us have dreams or goals we desire to have fulfilled this year. It is profitable to begin the year with a strong determination founded on faith in God to go through the process or run the race, with endurance and with patience, irrespective of the obstacles along the way.
Going through the process may push our ability to endure to the limit. If we respond with unbelief, bitterness and discouragement, we will rob ourselves of the treasure God is refining in us and others who could benefit from it will also miss out.
You can’t pick up endurance, perseverance or patience from the shelves. They can’t be imparted on you by the laying on of hands. They have to be worked out in us through the testing of our faith. We learn to wait with patience when we don’t know the end date for the resolution of the situation but we only know there is an end to it simply because God says so!
It is in experiencing the challenges, overcoming the obstacles and going through the process that perseverance is squeezed out of us. And perseverance must have its full course so that we can become mature and complete. The sterling quality of our character becomes prominent and more obvious when it has gone through the process of refinement.
Every trial becomes an opportunity to see God’s beautiful hands working in the finest detail in our lives.
Patiently enduring tests and trials puts the faithfulness of God in fulfilling His promise and His power to sustain us on display. It also shows our trust and dependence on God’s ability to keep us.
It is when we endure to the end that we can testify that it is God Who brought us through to the finish line.
This is my outlook for 2013—I’m going all the way to the finish line in every sphere of my life. And in all God has called me to do. I will not give up. I will not give in. I will endure the process until I get to the finish line. Not in my strength but by faith in God.
What about you? What goals have you set for this year? Will you trust in God for the grace to endure the process and remain resilient until you get to the finish line? You can rely on God’s covenant-keeping faithfulness to see you through.
“Whatever it will take…to help you reach that goal!
Don’t give up HOPE!…I KNOW YOU CAN COPE!”