Faith to Endure

Now with winter fully come, it’s interesting to take a moment to watch the different skiing competitions that are taking place. I was listening to one of the cross-country athletes tell how difficult her training had been and how she had to endure such stress and pain in order to reach the top level required to be a winner. It made me think how many Christians nowaday are spoiled, looking more for comfort and things to go easily rather than trying to excel in their calling as a disciple of Christ. That might be enough to get you into Heaven, but are they going to be “overcomers”, receive the winner’s crown, and hear the commendation of the Lord “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”?

Things don’t always go smoothly and problem-free when serving Jesus. Both Peter and Paul suffered beatings and imprisonment on account of their witnessing. Paul lists in 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 some of the many things he endured for “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

This past year of 2020 has been one characterized by difficulty for many people. People have died or been seriously sick. Lockdowns, lost jobs, and business closures have struck a serious blow to the livelihood of millions of people around the world. Loneliness and depression have become commonplace, and some have even lost all hope and given up on life entirely, taking their own lives.

So what should our attitude as Christians be in the midst of such turmoil and upheaval? Can we say with Paul, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (in Christ!).” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10).

We thank God that this past year we have both been healthy (in spite of our being in the so-called “high risk” age bracket), and that even though there have been lockdowns and border closures, the Lord made a way for us to be able to take 3 very fruitful mission trips! As in Psalm 91, as long as we abide under His wings, He takes care of us no matter what is happening around us. Also, here at home we have been free to hold our weekly Bible discussion group while at the same time taking advantage of every opportunity to witness to our friends, neighbors, and online.

But we feel in the Spirit that tough times lie ahead for the whole world. While 2020 was an extremely unusual year, 2021 is going to see Draconian measures be put in place as a result of what happened in the past year, some of which are going to test the faith of true Christians right down to the sinews of their being. Those who have not been preparing for these times, not training to be a winner during the off-season, are gong to find that they do not have the strength or endurance to “run the race” and “finish their course” (Hebrews 12:1, 2 Timothy 4:7-8)

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