“I can’t take this anymore!” Have you ever said or thought these words? It’s called despair.
Despair is not something the people of God are immune from. King David cries out in Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These same words Jesus would echo on the cross.
The Bible uses the phrase “how long” 58 different times. Even the saints of heaven call out how long. In Revelation 6:10 it says, “They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’”
We often despair, because we prepare for the easiest of breakthroughs. I learned from a young age to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Yet, I know I have been guilty of hoping for the best and preparing for the best only to taken off guard when the circumstance did not work out for the best. Despair happens when we fail to recognize the strongholds in our lives for what they are and we underestimate their strength.
So often a situation will stretch beyond its reasonably expected conclusion. The vision you have been working towards is taking years beyond what you expected. Resolution and reconciliation in your marriage seems not to be coming. You have been praying and asking for healing, but instead of getting better you seem to be getting worse. You are praying for the salvation of a child, but they seem to be drifting further and further away the more you pray.
In all these situations, God gives us a word – persevere! The word persevere is rooted in the word severe. To persevere is to not give up, even in the most severe circumstances when most others would have packed up and gone home.
Trust that God will win the day! He holds this promise out to us in the Scriptures. “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” Luke 18:7
We will be better for it. “We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 Perseverance will translate our doctrine (something we know) into a way of life (something we do). Perseverance will draw us closer to him because we will develop a greater reliance upon him.
Another benefit of perseverance is that the longer the struggle the more complete the victory will be. God desires to move us beyond a cease fire to having all our enemies trampled underneath our feet. Delay may wear you out. It may make you frustrated beyond measure. But if you give the delay over to the Lord, he will use it for his glory and the advancement of his kingdom.
If you feel overpowered, it is a time for you to climb higher into God and not give up. It’s time to trust in him with greater certainty than ever before. The greater the perseverance the greater the victory will be. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 Unfortunately, many give up along the way. They might give up on a marriage, on a vision, or on the salvation of a loved one’s soul. They were not determined to fight and endure until they reached the full blessing God had in store for them.
Maybe the most misunderstood book in the Bible is the book of Revelation. The message of Revelation can be summed up in one word: ENDURE. This book shows that the future may hold some bitter pain and tragedies that are beyond measure. There will be trials that will be so great we will not be able to endure except by the intervention of the grace of God. But for those who persevere in faith and trust until the end, they will hold the victory with Christ and stand with him in glory.