Strong to the Finish

by Dan Bolin

In school, my worst enemy was the pop quiz. I could cram for tests and get acceptable grades. But the unexpected quizzes revealed how much I actually knew --not how well I could study for an exam.

Tests weren't unfamiliar to James, who writes, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (James 1:2-3).

When things are at their worst, the one with perseverance is at his or her best. Perseverance reveals itself in one more day of responsibility, one more week of faithfulness, and one more deployment.

But if you've ever asked, "How long?" you're in good company. This question was asked more than 50 times by Old Testament heroes. In Psalm 13 David asks, "How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?"

David seems to be overwhelmed by thoughts of discouragement and sadness, as his enemies appeared to have gained the upper hand.

Maybe, like David, you are experiencing a time when God seems out of reach. Maybe your mind has raced to the worst possible conclusion and you are overcome by worry, disappointment, and fear.

You may be at a point at which people are no longer allies but enemies as you fight to faithfully fulfill your responsibilities.

Remember, God is at work in the midst of your struggles, helping you learn more about the love, strength, wisdom, and peace that only He can provide.

Dan is the president of Encouragement FM, a former Christian camp director, and a past chair of the CCCA Board of Directors. This article first appeared in the March/April 2005 issue of InSite magazine. Used by permission.

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