I don’t think I am the only one who expected the change in calendar years to bring miraculous differences in my life, my work, or my family. All over social media the country has begged for 2020 to close it’s doors so we 2021 could bring better days! So far, I haven’t been impressed.
Am I alone?
I stepped out of my comfort zone by praying for “my word” for 2021. Our blog team leader encouraged each of us to try it and see what God revealed. Admittedly, praying for God to show me words and phrases is still a bit foreign. I didn’t grow up knowing Jesus or understanding that a relationship with Him was the ultimate goal. It took me a long time to come around to having a conversation with God through prayer.
After several heart felt prayers and petition, God gave me my word for 2021:
Excuse me, Lord…um, what? This was not the same warm, fuzzy word other friends were sharing on Instagram. This would not do! This word felt…gritty and tough and raw- all the things I am NOT! I pressed in and researched the word through the lense of scripture and God began to do His revealing work. Throughout scripture, “endurance” is defined like this: “to remain; to abide, not recede or flee. To persevere: under misfortunes and trials, to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ”.
Peter writes about endurance this way: “But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:20
The writer of Hebrews says, “Endure hardships as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrews 12:7
Finally Paul describes says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”. Romans 5:3-4
This year, God is asking that I endure every circumstance with Christ; not on my own, but with Him. No matter what the suffering in our lives looks like, God sees it and is there with us in it. I have a terrible habit of minimizing my suffering because it doesn’t compare to the deep pain or hardship I perceive others to be going through. I start to treat the things that are happening in my life as “less than important” to God. But the truth is, He cares about every detail of my life. If he clothes the roses in red and cares for the sparrows, how much more then does he care about me? Your suffering means something to God and He is asking you to endure it- don’t give up, don’t recede, don’t give in. Maybe you are:
Going through a divorce
Struggling with a wild child
Adjusting to your spouse’s new work schedule
Kicking an addiction
Mourning the loss of your child
Living with anxiety
Unexpectedly pregnant and alone
Sometimes, warm and fuzzy just doesn’t cut it. Our lives are messy and broken. But whatever the suffering looks like, there is hope waiting for you on the other side.
Here are the ways I am planning to provide myself structure and discipline when it comes to enduring my suffering in 2021:
- Staying connected to God through prayer: I always treat prayer like a last resort instead of my most powerful weapon!
- Staying connected to my church: Your community of believers wants to surround you and lift you up in prayer. Cooperate worship and intercession overcomes the enemy and all of his schemes. If you don’t have a church home, I’d encourage you to start looking for one that fits you.
- Study God’s word: I am making the commitment to memorize one scripture per week this year. When the suffering comes, because we can be certain it will, the word of God will cut through even joints and marrow. God’s word is our weapon against the darkness and banishes our enemy.
Friends, don’t give up on 2021 yet. God has so much more for us than what we have seen this far.
Father, You are our life source. You are the provider of strength, wisdom, comfort, and hope. We need you in every moment, but especially in our suffering. I pray that your mighty hand would tear through the pain and worry, giving us peace that surpasses understanding. Help us to be in your word and stay strong in our faith. You promise hope on the other side of endurance and your promises are never empty. Father you won’t waste our pain so we are trusting you with it. We love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.