A new year is a natural time of reflection, a time to think about the joys, provision, and answers to prayer as well as the disappointment, loss, and the unanswered prayers. When you find yourself in difficult terrain, how do you work to develop persevering hope?
What it Means to Persevere
To persevere means to be filled with purpose and clarity and a “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” For a biblical example of perseverance look no further than Anna and Simeon, whose persistence led them to see the fulfillment of the promise in Jesus the Messiah. Or Joseph, who was visited by the angel in Matthew 1:22 and instructed not to divorce Mary because, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has spoken by the prophet.”
When you find yourself in a place of disappointment, waiting for unrealized promises over your life, your family, or your community, remember that our God is a God who fulfills what the prophets have spoken. Change your disappointment to worship and declare that He is a God of fulfillment. Thank Him for all the ways He’s answered prayers, and persevere. Because you don’t receive the fullness if you don’t persevere.
It is so easy to focus on what is not going right instead of all that the Lord is doing, difficulties can cause us to become disappointed or disillusioned. Don’t forget that it takes perseverance to see fulfillment and continued effort to achieve something despite difficulties.
Anna and Simeon, two people who were waiting on a promise, devoted themselves to worship. Luke describes Simeon as righteous and devout, waiting with expectation for the consolation of Israel. Anna was a woman who had suffered loss, but devoted her life to worship, prayer, and fasting.
Don’t Miss Him
Why did Simeon and Anna recognized the Messiah while so many Jews missed Him?
- They allowed God to bring about his fulfillment the way He wanted. Through a baby born in a manger, not a palace. Through a man who would willingly die on a cross as punishment for a crime He did not commit, not a man of royalty who would lead a war and overthrow the Roman’s oppressing the Jews at the time.We must allow God to bring fulfillment of His words in His way, and in His timing. His ways are above our ways, His thoughts are above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). We often believe God is not bringing fulfillment because it isn’t happening the way we want it to. It may seem that there is too much difficulty, too much failure, and too much opposition – so we give up. We don’t persevere to see the fulfillment.
- They persevered in worship, prayer, and fasting. They persevered in loving people that may have not been easy to love and stayed faithful to worship and fellowship.Life is busy, but we need to be in worship together, listening to the Word, and praying together. Most every time we arrive at church, tired, stressed, or even grumpy, we leave encouraged, joy-filled, and energized. It strengthens us to persevere! It strengthens our faith and reminds us He is a God who fulfills His promises.
Rise up in hope, expecting that 2017 will be a year of fulfillment. The enemy’s scheme is for you to look at all that has NOT been fulfilled and to stop believing, stop asking, stop hoping, stop praying, and stop persevering. We’re not stopping! God has fulfilled so many things promised to us, our church family, and our city. Continue persevering so you can be one who recognizes when God fulfills what the prophets have spoken.