THE STRENGTH TO PERSEVERE COMES FROM GOD.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Isaiah 40:27-31.
Verse of the Day: “Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength” (Isaiah 40:30-31).
Blake sat beside his mother and listened carefully as the visiting missionary stood before the church and told about his experiences in Japan, where he had served for seven years. He told of some of the differences between the customs of Japan and the customs of the United States. The missionary also explained that he had only recently won his first convert to the Christian faith! The missionary then clapped his hands together, bowed slightly, and said he would answer questions from the congregation.
A man two rows in front of Blake raised his hand. “Was it hard to work for almost seven years without seeing any results from your work?”
The missionary nodded. “Oh, yes,” he said. “I knew before I arrived in Japan that my job would be difficult. The Japanese are always very polite, but most are very resistant to the gospel. Still, it was hard to keep going at times.”
Blake tapped his mom’s arm. “Can I ask a question?” he whispered.
“Go ahead,” Mom whispered back.
Several others asked questions before the missionary called on Blake. Blake stood to ask his question. “How did you keep trying even when nobody was listening to you?”
The missionary looked at Blake with appreciation. “That’s a very good question, young man,” the missionary said. “It can be hard to keep trying, even if you know what you’re doing is right.” He cleared his throat. “I think the only way I kept going through those first six-and-a-half years was in God’s strength. I stayed very close to God, and I honestly believe his Spirit gave me the strength to persevere. Otherwise, I probably would have given up about six years ago!”
The missionary started to answer another question, but he stopped and faced Blake again. “Now that I think about it,” he continued, “that’s true for all of us. It’s hard to keep on doing good in the face of hardship or persecution. It’s natural to get tired and feel like giving up. But the Bible tells us, if we wait on the Lord, he will give us strength and help us keep going without getting tired. That’s not just true for missionaries in Japan,” the man said. “It’s true for you, too.”
Blake smiled at the missionary as he returned to his seat beside Mom. The missionary smiled back.
TO DISCUSS: Where does the strength to persevere come from? According to today’s Bible reading, who finds new strength? What do you think it means to “wait on the Lord”? Do you need to persevere in something you’re doing right now? How can you keep going, even if you’re tired and feel like giving up?
TO PRAY: “Lord, we’re not like the Energizer Bunny, who keeps going and going. We get tired sometimes. Give us your strength. Lord, when we’re weary.”