“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:36
I’ve seen pastors, some of large, successful ministries, suddenly drop out of ministry, without any major event or setback preceding their exit. In most cases they left during a long period of mandatory obedience to a task or situation. When people drop out of ministry, marriage, or even life it is usually because they start to lose steam during a time that requires steadfastness. It’s not usually the challenge, but rather the absence of any challenge, that tests our faith.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
To let endurance have its perfect result, you have to endure endurance.
“…Let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith…” Heb. 12:1-2
Some time ago our canoe club entered a thirty-two mile race. The beginning of the race was exciting. Boats were banging against one another, vying for the lead. We felt the rush of competition and each racer was fueled by pure adrenaline. After awhile, the boats spread out. After fourteen miles, it felt like we were the only canoe on the ocean. The other boats were so far away we could hardly see them. With eighteen miles left, we became fatigued. We were alone and tired of trying with no finish line in sight. We were in the middle of a season of steadfastness.
In our fatigue, we had to remember everything the coaches taught us about the reach of our arms, the position of our bodies, where we should be looking, and how to switch and move to the other side without breaking rhythm. The basics had to be executed as best as possible and each of us had to press through the fatigue. One stroke at a time, we had to stay the long course for eighteen more miles. In that period of steadiness winners are made or all is lost.
So it is with life. During “seasons of steadfastness” we develop the character qualities God designed us to possess. We can then transfer these qualities to other areas of our lives. For example, the patience we learn as a parent transfers to working with others. The qualities of endurance and loyalty we learn at work transfers to our marriages. Transferable character qualities are developed, but only by staying the course and allowing God to work in our lives.