Perseverance; October 26, 2021

2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

We love to talk about God’s love, and rightly so; the Bible is full of it. However, we aren’t so fond of talking about Christ’s perseverance! (The Japanese says “patient endurance.”) We live in an age of instant everything, and I personally think that has contributed to a kind of endemic immaturity in society. Psychologists have long recognized that tolerance for delayed gratification is a clear marker of maturity, but modern society seems to paint such tolerance as a bad thing! This has been a long time coming. I don’t know how many years ago it was now that a major store chain used the advertising catch copy, “So nice to know you don’t have to wait until tomorrow.” The “psychological disorder of the day” is ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder, where we don’t have the perseverance to stay with anything for more than the shortest amount of time. As a society, we are urgently in need of Christ’s perseverance! That’s not at all to say we aren’t constantly to be striving for improvement, in ourselves and in the things around us, but it is to say that we need to come to terms with the reality that things take time, and hang in there for the long haul. Peter famously dealt with this issue, writing, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9) What is required is faith that God is still God, whatever is happening or not happening, and trusting Him to work everything out on His schedule, not ours.

This certainly applies to me! We’ve been in Omura for 40 years now, and we certainly haven’t seen the massive harvest that we have desired. However, we have seen fruit, and indications that we have impacted people even when we weren’t thinking about it at the time. In a completely different area, I am impatient for Space X to make their first Starship orbital flight, but Elon Musk is a good example for me, because he manages to make progress in many areas at a remarkable rate precisely because he tolerates failures and doesn’t expect perfection the first time. I need to keep pressing into the things of the kingdom of God, not being down on myself or others because we don’t get it right all the time, but persevering toward the goal that has been placed before us, just as Paul said. (Philippians 3:12-14)

Father, thank You for all that You have been doing in recent days. Today has a fairly packed schedule, but You’ll get me through today as well. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, trusting You with every detail of my life so that Your plans for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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