When God Seems Silent
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. — Hebrews 10:36
Have you ever known a time when you thought you would die if the Lord did not give you His touch? A time when no friend could comfort you? When you could see no way out? When your circumstances gave new meaning to the word bleak?
Bart decided to ask God to shape his character. He surrendered his own will to the will of God. At the time, Bart’s business floundered on the verge of failure. “Should I throw in the towel, or keep trying to hang on?” Bart wondered.
God replies, “You need to persevere.” After we have done the will of God, then we will receive our reward. God’s will is for us to demonstrate to a hurting world how wonderfully His power can work within the person who perseveres.
Certainly, there are days when we feel like we will die, or maybe even wished we could, but we keep going. Why? Why do we keep going? Because when we have done the will of God, we will receive what He has promised.
Will persevering guarantee we will succeed in the worldly sense of success? Is that what He has promised? Does it mean we will not go out of business if we hang on? No, but we can state emphatically that if we don’t persevere we will not succeed in any sense. Not persevering guarantees we will fail.
What exactly is it, then, that He has promised? Jesus said,
Whoever does God’s will is My brother, and sister, and mother. — Mark 3:35
When you have persevered, you become transformed into part of the family of Christ. You become His friend, and He prays for you in the presence of the Father.
Beyond succeeding in a worldly sense, though, God wants our character to succeed more than our circumstances succeed. He will adjust our circumstances in such a way that our character eventually succeeds, for that is His highest aim, His will.
To receive this kingdom of God is our highest aim. We want to be part of the world that is coming, not part of the world that is going. So we must conclude we want to do the will of God. But is our life and lifestyle really an expression of that will?
What Turns Us from the Will of God?
When prosperity surrounds a man too long, his own self-will begins to growl within him like the deep rumblings of an inactive volcano just before it once again erupts. Though now dormant, its rugged features remind us of the violent eruptions of which it is capable. In the same way, we walk calmly with Christ, but our features give us away. Tiny, barley visible rivulets of cooled-down pride give us away and betray our past. Our pride is not gone, only dormant. Prosperity prompts pride; it reactivates a volcano of self-will, and that person forgets God.
Here is how Moses put it:
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws, and His decrees… Otherwise… your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God. — Deuteronomy 8:10-14
Suffering is not far behind.
What Turns Us Back to the Will of God?
When Christians suffer, their agony grinds out of them the desire to have a will of their own apart from the will of God. Suffering can produce a good result: perseverance. When you do persevere, you will receive what was promised — you will become His brother. You will be like Him. He will be able to use your life to strengthen other broken people. Your sympathy will become empathy.
And, because you persevered, because you received what was promised, because you have no will of your own, because you are the brother — the sister — of Jesus, you will become the expression of Christ’s compassion to your brother on earth. People will ask if they can speak privately with you so they can weep and pour out their desperation to you.
So why persevere? He has promised the joy of being Christ’s brother and administering the gospel of His compassion. D.L. Moody was fond of saying, “The reward of service is more service.” Christ’s reward for you is useful service, service that lasts.
Lord Jesus, help me to persevere. Sometimes I feel like giving up. I vacillate between Your will and my own, between prosperity and suffering. Stabilize me. Give me the strength to persevere, and let me receive the reward You have promised. Amen. Devotions for the Man in the Mirror: 75 Readings to Cultivate a Deeper Walk with Christ
Excerpted from Devotions for the Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley, copyright Patrick M. Morley.