Daniel 12:13, "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."
Ever hear of the Hare and Tortoise story? My daughter was writing a story review on it the other day. And she concluded that everyone can learn a lesson from that short story. One of the lessons being that perseverance pays off. I think we can all agree that when we persevere through something, we achieve our goals.
However, sometimes it seems that maintaining perseverance is easier than at other times. Sometimes it just feels easy. It seems easy to be faithful and to be committed. It seems easy to trust and not give up. Sometimes....
Then there are those dreadful times when we are hanging on by a thread. In fact, there are times in our lives when all we see fit to do is give up. The pressure is on and the afflictions of life seem relentless. This week alone, I have learned about the deaths of 3 different people. None closely related to me but, nevertheless, regarded dear and loved by many others. Two of them being sudden and unexpected deaths.
I can only imagine the turbulence and suffering that those closely related are feeling right now.
Losing a loved one is possibly the most difficult thing to bear for us human beings. Whether it be to death or simply to life, loss is painful. So what is she to do when her husband decides he's no longer committed? And what is he to do when the doctors say there's not much time left? What is one to do when your child decides to betray you and the entire family? What is there to do when you run out of creative ideas to make the hospital room a little more cheerful? What do we do when life is too hard? Better yet, how can one be expected to "persevere" when there is no more strength left inside, when we've given it all we got? And how dare we be the ones to tell someone in pain, "You simply need to persevere."?
And still... God calls us to persevere. You see God sees no limits, as we are set to our earthly boundaries, because His power is without limitations. Therefore, when He calls us to persevere He is not counting so much on our own strength but on His own. He knows that we can persevere through anything if only we are set on Him. There's a lesson to be learned here. You see God can sympathize. He gave His son up to endure the same kind of pain that we are stricken by. And He didn't do this just to experiment on His Son, but to be that much closer to us, to our humanness and pain. Isaiah 53 reminds us, "He was a man of suffering, and familiar with pain" (vs. 3b).
So truly familiar with pain that He had to endure a very physically painful death. Surely not the type of death due to the very son of God. And not only did He bear the physical torment but He carried the weight of this world. Just think for a moment of all the terrible things that take place on this earth. All of the painful things you've witnessed and possibly endured. For a moment grasp the thought of all the abandoned orphan children throughout the world, the innocent being abused and stripped from their God-given freedoms, the ones still being sold into slavery, the voices of all the unborn children crying out, the sorrowful groans of mothers whose children are brutally murdered, the many and many faces of ill-stricken hospital bodies, the mentally tormented, and on and on. Our world is a heavy place.
That weight was placed on our Lord Jesus. Hence, it wasn't just the weight of the cross He carried. It was the weight of our fallen world that caused Him to regress and pray, "Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:4
And God's response was in essence, "persevere", "finish it", "go your way till the end"... "it will be worth it." To which Jesus ultimately responded with "'It is finished.' With that He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." John 19:30 And God proved faithful when on the third day of His death, Jesus rose from the dead. You see, God had the complete picture and the end in His hands. He allowed for His son to suffer in our place knowing that He had the power to bring Him back to life.
So how does all of this tie in to our day today and the suffering or hardships we may be dealing with today? Well, let's see... if the son of God endured the suffering and death that was truly ours to bear. If He took our pain and suffering over 2000 years ago, He doesn't want us to carry it today. He wants us to know that no matter what kind of hardship it is that we are faced with, He is greater; and He not only knows the complete picture but has the end in store. And although we are limited, and on our own it makes more sense to give up, His strength is greater. It is great enough to get us through. For it is not our strength but His that can free us from the burdens, heal us from the torment, and mend and restore what is broken. Therefore, we should "go our way till the end". Persevere till the end. Not because we are stronger than any but because He is. Let us trust that truth today.