Summary: Sometimes, all we need to do, is to live our lives bearing the end in mind; the end that the lord wants for us, not our own end but the lords…
James 5:11New International Version (NIV)
11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Mine today, is a message of hope!
Many of us, if not all have been through trying situations. They may not necessarily be as daunting as that which befell Job in our current study but I’m sure its nothing new to most of us.
We have often heard the axiom that when life serves us lemons we should turn the lemons into lemonade. I don’t know about you, but I find that is not always an easy thing to do. There have been times when I have been confronted by an issue the seemingly overwhelms me. I twist and turn and cannot see my way around the issue or circumstance. It is as if my brain, if not my life, has been put on pause. How can one turn lemons into lemonade if you do not have the water, sugar or a lemon squeezer?
I must confess there have been times when it took me a few moments to remember that prayer will provide the tools to get beyond the problem that perplexes me. I might even be provided with the smile and cheerful outlook to overcome the issue.
Sometimes, all we need to do, is to live our lives bearing the end in mind; the end that the lord wants for us, not our own end but the lords…
A lot of us here, who have gone to school would know what we pass through when preparing for an examination, but we continue to persevere because we have in the end in mind, so we study hard, stay awake sleepless nights and burn the midnight candle because we are hopeful! Hopeful of the reward that awaits our success.
So it is with our Christian race – we need to often bear the end in mind as we pass through life’s travails. It may not always be smooth, the road may be windy, but Joy comes in the morning as we encourage one another with the words from the prophet Isaiah (40:31) but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Certainly, history is fraught with individuals confronted with a situation and finding unique ways to overcome life’s most difficult problems.
On April 15, 1912 the RMS Titanic, the Unsinkable Ship, did the unthinkable and sank after hitting an iceberg. Unfortunately, there were not enough lifeboats to accommodate all the passengers and crew. Famously, a decision was made to save all the women and children first. Then the men and crew members. Knowing that there was not enough room in the lifeboats for them the Titanic’s band led by Wallace Hartley played music continuously to keep the passengers calm until the ship slipped under the waves.
There are many legends, myths and folklore surrounding the sinking of the Titanic, but the story of the band in the face of certain death playing music to soothe the passengers is an enduring and true story.
To persevere even under the worst of circumstances is truly a daunting and difficult task. Oftentimes we may not succeed in completing the task, yet there is strength and honor in the attempt.
Paul, was often beaten, bruised and lonely at times. Yet, he continued to pursue his task of spreading the Gospel message. He left us these words of encouragement:
Php 3:13 My brothers, I do not count myself to have taken possession, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind and reaching forward to the things before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul knew that he stood out. That he was different. Others may have looked upon him as a perfect Christian, but he knew better. He also knew that he needed to set an example. Not to rest on what he has already achieved, but to continue forward, always improving, always reaching for the prize that God is holding out to all believers.
A famous theologian from the early 20th century Peter Marshall is quoted to have said this truth, "Never let the past be so dear as to limit the future."
And in Luke 9:62 we find this quote: And Jesus said to him, No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
In 1992 during the Bosnian War the city of Sarajevo came under siege. A siege that lasted four years and resulted in thousands of deaths. Vedran Smailovic and cellist in the Sarajevo String Quartet was haunted by the killing, the hunger of the children and the daily crescendo of bombs falling.