This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
Revelation 14:12 (NIV)
I like immediate results. There is an instant gratification that comes from seeing the fruit of your labor. Our family loves to bake and cook for this reason. We set out to do something, and in less than an hour we’ve accomplished the goal and are enjoying a delicious meal or tasty treat. And while there is a great joy in this process, unfortunately most of life is not as simple as roasting meat or baking cookies. Instead, in countless ways we are called to be faithful and to stay the course, even if the reward is on the distant horizon.
In certain circles of the Christian faith, there is a belief that says “do this for God and he will do that for you!” Our faith becomes transactional, following Jesus only to the extent that we receive immediate benefits for our faithfulness. In a culture of immediate blessings, there is no room for patient endurance. And as promising as this faith system may sound, it doesn’t ring true with the long story God has told through his people over the centuries.
I wonder what it was like to live as a part of the family of God in the time between the Old Testament and the New Testament? Generation after generation lived, loved, and died as people of the covenant who receive the promises of God, yet surely wondered countless times during that 400-year period, “Is God faithful?” “Will he keep his promises?” “What are we to do when he seems entirely distant and absent?”
In seasons of trial, doubt, or spiritual dryness, rather than abandoning our faith beliefs and practices, we must find the courage to press in all the more, believing and trusting that God will meet us as we do. We have a built in aversion to resistance. If something is hard, we avoid it and try to find another way. Yet in the Christian life, God so often wants to deepen our faith and grow our character through the trial by walking with us through it rather than showing us a way around it.
Seek today to remain faithful to the way of Jesus, following his commands and trusting in his faithfulness. Believe that God tells long and good stories, and that the story of your life is still being written. Stay the course and trust that God is with you every step of the way.
Father, teach us to be faithful and to endure with joy whatever trial or burden we must face, through Christ our Lord. Amen.