Every day it seems like the news bombards us with a new example of evil in the world. Our hearts break as we are told about another mass shooting, hear the horrors of war, or see another example of corruption run rampant. When our eyes are on the storm it is enough to drive us to despair. Unanchored, the waves caused by the storms of life would toss us about and fill us with fear. Yet, with one word, we know Jesus can calm the raging seas… so we wait. How long before God brings this suffering to an end? How long must we wait?
As I thought about these questions I remembered those who had asked them before me. David, who was pursued by King Saul to be murdered. The prophets, who were scorned by the very people they were sent to warn. The remaining faithful Israelites, who were in exile and captives in a foreign land. Early Christians, who faced persecution, imprisonment, and death for their belief in the resurrection of Jesus. Martyrs of old and martyrs of today know what we all know, but so often forget. The suffering of this life is brief compared to eternity. We give meaning to our suffering when use it to grow deeper in faith and lead others to Christ.
I was reminded of this truth today at church. After a morning of allowing myself to feel overwhelmed and defeated, I remembered the scripture in Hebrews:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:1-2
God doesn’t allow evil to persist in the world because he doesn’t care. Rather, he is patiently waiting for all the lost to be found and for the prodigals to return. He loves us all, even those ones we think are unredeemable.
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”
Some people may travel down the wrong road for years before their lives are touched by Christ. God is waiting for the fullness of time when those seeking a changed life will finally choose to turn to him.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.2 Peter 3:9
To this end, we must remain steadfast during times of suffering and endure with faithfulness reaching out to others in love. God will refresh our spirits when we have nothing left to give. He will give us strength in our weakness and hope in the darkest moments. Our contributions may seem small, but they are made immense in the hands of Jesus. We each possess unique spiritual gifts so that we can each impact the world in our own way. With that in mind I dedicate my blog to God, and pray that it will be used by him to further his kingdom. Each day I will choose faith over fear by remembering God’s promises. When my eyes remain fixed on Jesus, he calms the storms that rage in my heart. Examine your own spiritual gifts and run the race with endurance.