Patience. Long-Suffering. Endurance. Perseverance. These are not fun words. They are not joyful words. In fact, they are words I’m happy to look past or at least talk to others about them and ignore their place in my own life!
However, they are necessary words. They are words that speak to our walk with Christ.
- Patience is listed as the 4th fruit of the spirit.
- In the book of Hebrews, we are told to “run with endurance the race that is set before us”.
- We are also told that “love is patient, kind, it always hopes and always perseveres”.
But, when we are in the deep valley, when we are “suffering trials of many kinds”, the last thing we want to be is patient or long-suffering. We want relief now. We seek solutions that will fix the problem or at the very least give a definite direction. We seek relief. We ask for the peace that passes all understanding.
I’ve been reminded again and again that when God tells us to “ask, seek, knock and the door will be opened to you”, it does not necessarily mean, ask once, seek for a few minutes, now knock and then the door will open and reveal the exact answer you were hoping for.
It can mean asking lots of questions. It can mean days, weeks, months and even years of seeking. It can mean knocking and the door opening. but not to the answer you had hoped for or expected.
What is easy to forget is that even though the door opens to an unexpected answer, God is still there with us even with the answer we weren’t expecting. He wants us to learn to be patient, to persevere and at times be long-suffering in our waiting. He wants us to be completely dependent on and in constant communication with Him.
We don’t always understand what He is up to, and when we are on the valley floor, we don’t always see His hand guiding us step-by-step, decision-by-decision, person-by-person.
Many times we can’t even begin to see that until we are out of the valley. And even then, we don’t always know why we had to go through that experience in the first place.
It’s in these times of loneliness, fear, and the heavy unknown these questions naturally come:
- What am I missing?
- What am I doing wrong?
- What is God’s will?
- What is my next step?
- Why is this happening?
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways”. Isaiah 55:8-9
Well yeah! I would not have chosen this path, this trial, it’s too hard! Because it feels sticky, it’s messy, it’s emotionally draining, and it feels like we are breaking.
To top it all off, we are told to “consider it all joy when you experience trials of many kinds” and to “rejoice always”.
Ugh, really!? In the midst of it all, you want me to do what?
Joy: Rejoice Always
This one is hard. I don’t do it well, I don’t like to rejoice while I’m in the valley.
But, I have learned to cling to these truths and promises:
- I will never leave you nor forsake you
- The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want
- He is Immanuel, God With Us
- He is Abba, my Father
Joy is not momentary pleasure – it is the deep and lasting condition of our relationship with God this world cannot steal away.
It is a manifestation of who He is, a result of the heart-transforming power of Jesus Christ in us.
She Reads Truth Bible Study
The Fruit of the Spirit
Frustratingly, that heart transformation comes over time, it comes through deep valley travels. It comes with patience, endurance and long-suffering. It comes from walking day-by-day with Christ, in faith, even when we can barely even see the next step in front us.
Anchors: Firm & Secure
If you haven’t heard of Josh Garrels, you really need to talk to my nieces! They will set you up.
Josh is an amazing artist and singer with a heart after God. But out of all the songs I have heard, these 2 lines from the song “Anchor” (he is the featured singer with Beautiful Eulogy on this song) keep coming back to me time after time.
Anchor of my soul, you sustain.
When I’m in the storm, you remain.
And then the third line too…
You remain, good to me.
Like your own copy of these amazing words?
Click here to download this printable.
When walking in a valley, traveling through a terrible storm, through a the dense fog, and through the pain…
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”. Hebrews 6:19
He is our hope, He is our anchor firm and secure.
Knowing all this doesn’t mean we will start receiving lightening bolt answers (no matter how many times I beg for them!) or quick solutions to our problems. It does mean, however, that our patient, joy-giving, Abba Father is the anchor of our souls, firm and secure. And that really and truly is all we need.
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books, and now with the Selah Journal: A reflective journal and mini-retreat. Start your own daily gratitude practice with our, “7 Days of Gratitude Challenge – A Gratitude Journal Starter Kit”.