By Mandy Post
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:3-4
At the time of writing this, we have lived in our host country over 18 years. This is where we’ve spent most of our married life, raised our family, and worked. And the longer we live here, the more normal it feels.
But it wasn’t always like that.
Our first 10 years here, I struggled with wanting to give up and leave. I cried, begged, and pleaded with the Lord to let us go. Every time I had a baby, I spent months grieving the nearness of extended family. When I got overwhelmed with juggling ministry and family responsibilities, I longed for familiar support systems. Every time we had to move house, I wished it were the big move back. When our visas were in question year after year, I secretly hoped our applications would be denied. And as the people we came to reach continually rejected the Love of my life, I wanted to leave them to suffer the consequences of that rejection.
“Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside….My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” (Psalm 73:21, 26 NLT)
Through all my struggles, one truth remained: Our work here wasn’t finished yet. And God’s work in my own heart isn’t finished yet either. I needed those times of despair to push me to the Lord, to look to Him for strength to endure and not give up. I turned to the example of my Saviour who endured separation from family, lack of support, and constant rejection until His work was finished. Each time I did this, the next time of despair got a little easier and shorter. And now, it’s difficult to imagine leaving.
Endurance develops character and hope, and our hope won’t lead to disappointment but rather the love of God (Romans 5:3-5 NLT). So whether our work takes 2, 12, or 30 years, may God be the strength of our hearts as we endure the work He has called us to do.
Holy Spirit, remind us where our strength comes from when we want to give up, and give us endurance to continue in our work for as long as the Lord has us in it.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
On your social media or in the comments, share an answer to the questions below.
- When have you experienced a time of endurance?
- How did the Lord affirm your calling during that time to encourage you to not give up?
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This piece was originally written for publication via Thrive Ministry on thriveministry.org/connection. Thrive is a nonprofit organization that exists to replenish women ministering overseas. To learn more, visit thriveministry.org.