Some of you reading this may be struggling with your ministry, your purpose, your calling. You are plagued by doubt, exhausted by fatigue, depressed by an incredible lack of results. Take courage today!
I’m remembering people like Noah, who faithfully built the ark over the course of 70 to 100 years … in the midst of mockery and among a people of wickedness. Surely, he preached repentance during that time, but when the rains came, only his family was saved.
I’m remembering people like Joseph, who knew that God had great things for him, but who first endured betrayal, slavery, slander, and prison. Instead of growing bitter or rejecting God, he remained faithful to his calling to save not only his own family and people, but the entire Egyptian nation.
I’m remembering people like David, who knew he was called to be king, and yet endured 10 years of hiding in the wilderness, being hunted down like a wild animal.
I’m remembering people like Jeremiah, who was so overwhelmed by the scorn of his people, who endured such reproach and derision, that he finally cried out, “I will not remember God or speak his name anymore!” But then he admitted that “In my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary of holding it in and I cannot endure it” (Jer. 20:9). And so he continued to preach and proclaim the word of God, even though no one would listen.
I’m remembering people like Paul, who stated that he had been subject to “labors … [and] imprisonments, beaten times without number often in danger of death. Five times I received form the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches” (II Corinthians 11:23-28).
And yes, I’m remembering Jesus, whose own family thought him crazy, whose people rejected him, whose disciples deserted him at his greatest hour of need, who was slandered, insulted, mocked, and killed.
What’s the thread that binds all these people together? They didn’t fear failure, because they knew their purpose. They didn’t shy away from pain, because they had their eyes on the prize. They didn’t hesitate at sacrifice, because they were pressing on to their eternal reward.
Stand firm – God is with you!