November 14, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 349: Giver of Perseverance

Giver of Perseverance

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4 NIV)

The summer after I finished second grade, my family moved from a bungalow in the city to a house trailer on my grandparents' land in the country. The trailer was a temporary home while my parents built the house they'd been planning all their married lives.

I still remember my dad taking us to what would become our new address and telling me, "You're standing in your bedroom." At the moment, I was standing on the ground, with no room in sight. But over that summer, I thrilled to watch the house being built until finally, one day, I really was standing in my bedroom.

In the house of faith, we all find ourselves at one point or another standing in an unfinished room...a room that is, in fact, not a room yet at all but rather the hope and promise of what will become a room, if we do not give up.

The land for the house our room is in has been given to us: "Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you" (Genesis 13:17).

We have a blueprint: "Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me" (Psalm 119:133).

The foundation has been laid: "He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure" (Isaiah 33:6).

We have a Master Architect: "The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations...From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth" (Psalm 33:11, 13, 14).

As we stand in our room in faith's house, we see that we have work to do. It will be hard sometimes. Things will not go according to plan. We'll be tempted to give up and abandon the building project. But if we will choose to "consider"—to frame, to look at, to construe—these slowdowns and moments when what we ordered isn't what's delivered as "pure joy," we'll start to see our room take shape.

The floor under our feet will be finished. Sturdy walls will go up, and a protective roof. If we keep on keeping on and don't settle for a bare-bones room but push through to the point of paint and furnishings—choices we have to make along the way—we will find ourselves one day standing in our finished room.

And on that day, we'll hear the voice of the Builder saying, "It's perfect. There's nothing else it needs. Come. Move in, and live with Me here forever."

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going" (John 14:1-4).

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!