While traveling around the world, Steve and I have met some extraordinary followers of Jesus. These people have been beaten, kidnapped, and raped—in addition to a host of other trials—because of their faith. As I’ve had the privilege of meeting and talking with these brave souls, I’ve asked myself, “What inspires them to keep clinging to their faith?”
At conferences I’ve spoken at, I’ve also met folks who are battling cancer, or who have children in jail, or have been wrongly sued. How do they keep going? What keeps them persevering in the faith?
The writer of Hebrews instructs us, “You need to persevere” (Hebrews 10:36). Persevering can feel difficult when you’re writing a book, or raising toddlers, or trying to get out of debt, or finishing a degree—let alone when you’re facing persecution because of your faith. So what’s the key? How do we build resilience into our lives so that we don’t crumble and quit when life feels hard? As I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve discovered 3 keys that will go a long way to strengthening your perseverance muscles.
3 Keys to Persevering Under Pressure
Stay in constant communication with God. The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart” (Hebrews 10:22). Our temptation when suffering and sorrow hit is to doubt God’s goodness. We wonder, “How can a good God allow this suffering in my life?” We need to remember that ever since sin entered the world, suffering and sorrow will be a part of our journey. In fact, Jesus warned us that hardship would be a part of the cost of following Him (Luke 9:23-25). None of us like hardship. But rather than pulling away from God during those times, press in more deeply to Him. Cling for all you’re worth to what you know to be true about God. Rehearse His character traits in your mind. When doubt creeps in, declare out loud what you know to be true and then pray that the Holy Spirit will provide the grace you need for the moment.
Lean into your community. You were not designed to live life alone. We need each other. Hebrews reminds us, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24). Hey, the truth is – we all need encouragement! If you’re not in a place of hardship, be generous with encouraging those who are. Applaud their tenacity. Weep with them. Enter their sorrow. Tell them you admire how they are pressing into Jesus. Whatever you do, never try to encourage others by preaching at them or giving easy answers. That’s discouraging. Instead, bring them a meal, or have flowers delivered, and by all means, pray. But don’t preach! No one needs a sermon when they’re hurting.
Hold onto hope. When life feels hard, I remind myself that suffering – as much as I hate it – produces the fruit of righteousness in my life. If I surrender my pain to Him, God promises to use it and to strengthen me in the process. A wise mentor once told me that God never wastes our pain. He treasures our tears (Psalm 56:8). Friend, remind yourself that this present life is only a fraction of the eternal life we have in Christ. After we have suffered, we will receive what God has promised: a life of eternal joy with Him (Hebrews 10:36).
I don’t know what your struggle is at this moment. But I know that God is calling you to persevere. Sink your roots down deeply into Him, lean into your community, and hang on to hope. The best is yet to come. Jesus is not dead, remember – He is risen! And He’s cheering for you as you persevere!
Steve and I are home this week. We’ll be writing, getting ready for board meetings for Reach Beyond, and enjoying family.
How you can pray:
Pray for wisdom for Steve as he leads Reach Beyond. Pray as I book speaking for 2020 that God will open the right doors.