I am going to say it.
I may not have had to walk uphills both ways in the snow wearing one shoe while chewing on cornstalk for daily nutrition but I do think there is something unique about my upbringing that is lacking today.
I wasn’t allowed to quit. To be called a quitter was fightin’ words. You finished what you started. Even if it was ugly and duct taped together. Even if you didn’t like it, or it didn’t fulfill, or didn’t meet your assumptions. Whatever I had committed to do or had been committed to on my behalf, there was an expectation that some good would come of it, even if I didn’t particularly care for the assignment, project, team, or goal. It would primarily build character.
There is a fallacy we have chosen to believe that if something is too hard or has too many obstacles then it must not be in God’s will for us or our families. The reality is God’s word gives us every indication that the opposite is true. We have Old Testament proof of Job’s perseverance through extreme hardship. We have Jeremiah persevering through mistreatment from his own people doing exactly what God told him to do. Throughout the New Testament we see the example of Paul pushing through every imaginable challenge to achieve what he needed to in this life to honor and glorify God. If he relied on his earthly understanding and human ability I think he may have quit after the first stoning or maybe the first imprisonment. I don’t know about you but I have never been stoned or imprisoned. The Bible shows us perseverance and endurance are proof of our faith and spiritual maturity. We are not an exception to the rule.
God still expects the same obedience from us today. I believe He also expects us to teach this to our children and have this as our expectation. We need to step up to the plate and teach our children that circumstances can change with hard work. We need to teach them to keep fighting through even when the odds are stacked against them. We need to expect for them to fail and make mistakes and then to learn from those challenging and disappointing circumstances. We are doing our children a disservice trying to protect them from sadness, boredom, and displeasure. We need to be our kids biggest cheerleaders but not allow them to back down when things get really tough.
I found a few scripture to equip you and for you to teach your children that hard times are just a part of living on this earth. But these scriptures also show us that God never expected us to endure and persevere alone. We need to be in community and in communion with Him to Stand Firm.
- Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
- Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
- If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 2 Corinthians 1:6
- being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, Colossians 1:11
- But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11
- We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3
- Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 2 Corinthians 6:4
- They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:8
- Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
- You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Photo by Michał Grosicki