This is part 3 of a 5 part series on enduring through suffering by building resilience.
Part 1 – Enduring Well: Four Ways to Build Resilience
Part 2 – Enduring Well: Identity in Christ
Part 4 – Enduring Well: Faith
Part 5 – Enduring Well: Responsibility
The lie says, “What just happened is huge. It is the end of the world. Things are hopeless!” This is an overreaction. The truth says, “What just happened is bad but, in reality, it’s only a small thing. It’s not the end of the world. And, from the perspective of eternity, it’s very small indeed!”
To endure well, with God’s help, we must see things as they really are.
The truth is that God will soon bring these times of pain to an end:
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet… (Rom. 16:20)
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Rev. 21:4)
The truth is that even now we are in Christ seated in a position of victory!
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:6-7)
This is how to endure well. Even if we die through the suffering, we die in hope and trust! And we will receive the reward of our faith in eternity.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Heb. 11:39-40)
Truly, we cannot be overcome!
When we see things from an eternal perspective we will be able to respond with gratitude to God, no matter what He allows us to experience. There are many biblical passages that describe this response to suffering. As we experience adversity of various kinds, we are to look at God and look at eternity. Then, as we see things from His perspective, we will be able to actually rejoice and we will not be destroyed by the adversity.
…my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. (Ps. 13:4-6)
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will You let Your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. (Ps. 16:9-11)
I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. (Ps. 31:7)
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights. (Hab. 3:17-19)
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23)
But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. (Phil. 2:17-18)
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church. (Col. 1:24)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phil. 4:4)
…This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (1 Pet. 1:4-6)
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Pet. 4:12-16)
Put all the above Scriptures in the first person and speak them directly to God as the declaration of your heart to Him.
The key in all the above passages is true perspective. Without seeing things from God’s perspective we will be crushed by adversity. But when we inwardly choose to turn to Him and see the bigger picture and the eternal reality, we will be able to endure well. This is explicitly stated by Paul in 2 Corinthians.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16-17)
Paul did face some very awful adversity. Yet he describes it as “light and momentary.” This is the thinking of a man who endures well!
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were severely beaten and thrown into prison. Yet they continued to praise God:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God… (Acts 16:25)
In all the adversity Paul faced he continually chose to look inwardly at God, fixing his eyes on eternity. As a result, he did not “lose heart.” He was not overcome by adversity, but, in fact, the suffering worked for him a greater eternal glory. Paul endured well.
Express your gratitude to God now. Think of as many things as you can for which you are thankful to God. For each one, give Him praise!