Hebrews 12:3-13

            Perseverance is important to God.  It is important enough to him that he disciplines us for our own good so that we can endure for a lifetime of being faithful to Jesus Christ.  Our response to the disciplining work of God depends upon how we look at it.  If we view discipline as a dirty word to be avoided at any cost, then any time there is trouble or difficulty, we are going to spend our efforts trying to wriggle away like an earthworm to a flashlight.  But if we discern that discipline comes from God as a gracious means of developing perseverance within us, we will patiently endure the circumstance knowing that God is doing an important work in us.  We can submit to God and look forward to the righteous fruit that he will produce in us; or, we can buck our adverse situation and refuse to learn from it.

            Even Jesus himself endured hostility, trouble, and eventually death despite the fact that he did nothing to deserve such treatment.  We are not above our Master.  Just as he suffered, so we will, as well.  The real question is:  What will we do when we face painful difficulty?  God loves us enough to not leave us alone but is active in allowing us to endure hardship as discipline so that our faith will grow and develop.  This is a healthy thing, and not a thing to avoid.

            We are to consider Jesus, his attitude and way of life, so that we ourselves will not grow weary and fainthearted.  We are to lift our drooping hands and strengthen our feeble knees and find fresh inspiration to keep going through looking squarely at Jesus, our faithful example.  Whether our painful trial is a very real physical disability, a relationship problem that is constantly on-going, or an emotional situation that seems to maintain a constant vice-grip on your head and heart, there is a God in heaven who sees it all and desires to bend each and every adverse circumstance for use in developing your faith and bringing you closer to him.  Allow God to do the expert work that he alone is suited to do.

            Gracious God, I believe that you discipline me for my good.  Help me to not grow weary when you bring adversity into my life.  Instead, strengthen me as I submit to your will for me through Jesus Christ my Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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