Endurance to Reach the Summit: Tempted to Stop?
This afternoon I received a text from my son (who is now a father himself). I must share his text with you:
When I was a kid we used to go hiking a lot. Hiking with a kid isn’t always easy. Kids tend to complain some. And I remember whenever I got tired or felt like I couldn’t keep going you would always tell me. “It’s just one foot in front of the other.”
You must have told me that thousands of times in my childhood. It’s maybe the single most important lesson I ever learned.
My whole life. Whenever things get hard. I can hear your voice telling me to put one foot in front of the other. It always encourages me. Because we didn’t just hear you say it. We got to the top of mountains with that advice.
We really, truly learned it. It’s a truth that’s in my bones.
I replied to him with this text:
Kind of reminds me of this passage: “…being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience and joyfully giving thanks to the Father….” (Colossians 1:11-12)
Power: for “endurance and patience” not the kind of things one normally thinks they need power for.
It’s A Challenging Journey
This journey requires putting one foot in front of the other, especially when things get hard. We need God’s power to persevere, endure, and to keep walking by faith, day after day.
That is the story behind the YWAM Frontier Missions stories we post here. I know this because I have personal relationships with most of the YWAMers behind these stories. Without God giving strength, without His glorious might, they would probably have given up. They would have lacked the endurance and patience necessary.
No Visible Progress
Last week I was on a Skype call with the regional FM leader for South Asia. During the conversation, we talked about some mutual friends. For well over a decade they served faithfully in a high-caste Hindu community. Despite much prayer and hard work, they saw no visible fruit. No one seemed the slightest bit interested in Jesus. By 2011, they dipped into their lowest valley. Could they keep going?
By God’s grace, they persevered, they continued to serve, love, and plant gospel seeds. At long last, new life began to spring forth.
A few came into the light of Jesus. Then more believed.
The new believers learned to share their stories with friends and family. They taught the gospel, from Creation to Christ. More people came to faith.
As they prayed for the sick, people got healed. They cast out demons and people were set free. There are many early signs now of a movement. They all are “joyfully giving thanks to the Father….” (Colossians 1:12)
Patient Endurance Required
A few hours ago, I was on a Zoom conference call with a friend and fellow DMM coach. He told a story further exemplifying this need for “endurance and patience.” He had visited one of our YWAM-FM coworkers serving in a very restricted country.
In the early days of the work, the team struggled to see progress. The leader said, “We made more than 400 adjustments before we started seeing the kind of fruit we are seeing now. The first 399 things we tried didn’t work.”
Joy and Thanksgiving
One foot in front of the other, step by step, up this mountain of challenges they climbed.
It’s worth it. The summit is now in view for them. A DMM is emerging with thousands of Muslim people following Jesus. And they too are “joyfully giving thanks to the Father….” (Colossians 1:12)
Don’t even entertain the thought of quitting. If what you do doesn’t seem to bear fruit the first time, the second time…the 399th time, don’t give up.
Keep seeking the Lord through His Word and His Spirit. Keep asking God for His ways of showing love. Continue spreading the good news and discipling new believers. Keep starting fellowships and multiplying local disciple-makers. Persevere. You will find ways to bear fruit in your area, among your people group. You will find the key that leads to the launch of a transformational Kingdom movement.
Endurance to Reach the Summit
When it comes to faithfully following Jesus into His harvest: “It’s just one foot in front of the other.”
Along with my son Sean, one day, you might also say: “We got to the top of mountains with that advice.”