“As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” - James 5:11
Church attendance was down - again. Just when we thought we’d turned a corner and were seeing growth, vacation season brought with it less excitement and more empty seats. My husband and I had served in ministry for years, and we’d seen the ups and downs of church life before. But this time, we weren’t making a difference. So we thought maybe it was time to give it all up.
“I give up.” A phrase many of us can relate to, because the temptation to quit can invade every area of life. We may struggle to persevere in prayer for our children who don’t serve God. Or we fight for years in ministry, only to see declining interest. We work to keep family relationships together but feel like we’re in a losing battle. Or we face that recurring illness one more time. Whatever part of our lives have triggered the desire to quit, rest assured. God knew we would need encouragement to persevere.
“As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:11 NIV
In chapter 5, James speaks to his concern for believers as they press through hardship. He compares the Christian walk to a farmer, doing the work then waiting for a harvest. “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.” (James 5:7)
James’ words provide hope for us also, as each day seems to reveal more difficult circumstances. More trouble. More thinking it would be easier to just quit. Instead of letting us give up for good, God reminds us of an important truth when we need help to persevere.
Our merciful Father blesses those who persevere.
If you’re in that place today, where giving up sounds better than staying the course marked out for you, let the verse above offer hope. Let’s pray this prayer together - a prayer to help us persevere. Because blessed are those who stand firm in the struggle.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for Your mercy. Forgive me for those times when I feel like giving up. Your Word tells me I should “press on toward the goal to win the prize” for which You called me. (Philippians 3:14) But sometimes I get discouraged when I don’t feel like I’m making a difference. I know discouragement is not from You. Every good and perfect gift comes from you, and that includes the ability to persevere.
Lord, it seems like I’ve been praying for a long time without an answer. Sometimes I wonder whether or not You hear my prayers. Doubt and frustration make me want to quit when I don’t see a breakthrough in my situation, but You offer hope. As I draw closer to You, You, in turn, draw close to me. (James 4:8) Thank you for this promise.
Your Word says You “reward those who earnestly seek You.” (Hebrews 11:6) Because of this, I know You are with me, giving me the strength and determination I need to keep moving forward. Help me remember this truth from Scripture when my thoughts take a negative turn. I may not see the fruit of my prayers right now, but You are working. Even when I don’t see it.
Lord, the love of Your son Jesus Christ is all I need. Help me remember that, and not get sidetracked with the challenges of this world. Your strength and guidance will help me overcome any obstacle. The desire to share Jesus’ love with others will inspire me to persevere when I’m tempted to quit. Thank you for unfailing love and unending patience as I learn the power of perseverance.