Perseverance, Survival While In The Midst of Trouble

James 1:12 "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial…"

We live in a society of immediate gratification. We have little patience for slow fast food, long lines at the grocery store or even the three minutes it takes to cook a bag of popcorn in the microwave oven. Just as we expect our every day conveniences to be provided to us instantaneously, we want immediate answers to our financial problems.

Webster's definition for perseverance is "to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counter  influences, opposition, or discouragement." In other words, don't give up when things get tough.

"Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown."

                                                          Ross Perot

The most difficult part of any problem is the middle. The first stage tends to leave most of us in shock and not able to really feel the pain. Of course, the conclusion of a problem is fantastic and the feeling of relief is incomparable. The middle point of our financial challenge is when perseverance becomes reality. It is at this point that we are deep in the dark tunnel, but not far enough along yet to see any light at the other end.

Some things just take time, and some financial problems may linger for months or even years. It is this "waiting process" that is clearly the most formidable for those I have counseled. They express things like, "I just want it to be over" and "When will my life turn around?" Why then, doesn't God just fix all of our problems quickly so we don't have to endure the pain? The answer seems to be found in Romans 5:3-6

"… but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." This text clearly reveals to us that perseverance serves the purpose of building character. Therefore, God's plan for creating our moral and ethical strength is rooted in perseverance. It is during the tough times in our life that we are forced to look to upward and to depend on the Lord for our strength. This experience and communion may have never occurred without the accompanying trial that brought us to our knees.

One man I know believes that his marriage was saved by a financial crisis. He explained to me that for years he questioned his wife's true love for him and he even considered divorce. He often wondered if she just loved him for his money. The time came when he lost nearly everything. Instead of leaving him (as he expected), his wife went out to work. She even worked two jobs to help him out of his financial bind. Wow, was he surprised! His wife really did love him after all.

A new perspective; rather than asking God why, rejoice in the midst of your trial and ask Him what you can learn from this experience. Be open to the lessons that your circumstances may be offering you, and most importantly the opportunity for a deepening of your relationship with Him.

James L. Paris

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