Persevering in the Perilous
July 6, 2020
by Caren Abraham, DDS
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13, KJV).
For most of us on the planet, life has been turned upside down over the last few months. An event that no one (or possibly very few) living today personally remember has taken the world by storm, and many are struggling to adjust to a new way of life. Society appears to be fragmenting, not just across the country but around the globe. Just before all these things began, I moved to Kenya to start a dental clinic in a rural mission hospital. This is something that has been on my heart for many years. I have been here a few months tackling Swahili, and now I am working to acquire materials and doing administrative groundwork for the clinic. There are many days when I feel like I’m running an uphill marathon.
In the midst of all of this, the Lord has brought Proverbs 24:10 to my mind repeatedly: “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small” (KJV). Often, we think of adversity only in the context of a person opposing us as we attempt to accomplish a particular task, like the bully in school who would never let you get to your locker to get books for the next class. But, I have come to realize that “the day of adversity” can describe our current circumstances that discourage us and tempt us to give up. It can be a pandemic that makes us fear that things may never go back to the way they used to be, it can be a new language that seems impossible to master or it can just be trying to put a clinic together in the midst of a new culture where it seems just about everything is done differently than the way I am used to.
Persevering in the day of adversity takes effort. It does not come naturally, and it is a constant series of decisions. It only takes one decision to give up, but it is a continuous effort to press on. 1 Corinthians 16:13 puts it like this: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (KJV). Perseverance takes vigilance, not giving into a moment of weakness or despair; it takes faith and the strength only God can give to overcome circumstances that are beyond us; it takes fortitude, to stand when it seems impossible or is not convenient; and it takes strength.
As followers of Christ, we have been equipped with this strength, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13, KJV). Living in these chaotic and fearful times in a new country with a new way of life, Christ equips us to overcome. In other words, not just survive, but thrive! We have been equipped to shine the light of Christ into a dark world, to bring comfort to someone who may have lost all hope and to ease the pain of someone who is suffering physically or emotionally. Our personal decision to persevere in the midst of adversity can bolster someone else in our lives to do the same. Our decision to live for Christ when it is not easy can inspire another to follow Him, too. It is certainly not easy, but be encouraged by the truth that everything we need is already within us. Be strong.