10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Ultimately it is the strength of our faith, our trust in a higher power that will determine our ability to endure.
We have many examples in scripture of those who have had faith to endure and turned to the Lord.
Examples in scripture:
He built a ship which took him 75-100 years to build! This was not a small ship that he had architectural plans for, or a YouTube to watch. He even had an unpopular message: He preached repentance or be drowned. It wasn’t even raining when Noah built the ark, actually… it wasn’t even overcast!! When he began his seemingly impossible task, he had no computer to aid him, no social media to help him “spread the word” or even a video to watch for instructions so he could visualize his task. He did it without the aid of even scriptures to tell him of those who had gone before him and succeeded in difficult tasks or won impossible wars with impossible odds or even a hint or what was coming. Yet with all these things to overcome he was able to do it based on what he was given as personal direction and staying in touch with his spiritual side and not getting sucked into what the masses were believing and doing. He stayed true for over 75 years to what he was given and went forward day after day building the huge ship with no rain in sight! Would we get tired of building year after year or preparing for that long? We get tired of re-doing our 72 hr. kits or rotating our food supplies year after year!
Joseph in Egypt
One minute he was in prison and the next he was responsible for saving the entire House of Israel from starvation—not just for 72 hours, but for an entire seven years! He had to convince people to donate their food to the temple silos when they were having year after year of bumper crops, not to sell it for a profit or even put it up as collateral so they could buy machinery on credit based on another year of good crop. They probably wanted to get more Hebrew slaves too! No i-pad to help track the inventory, no spreadsheets, heavy equipment, and no Costco’s were around to help him out with this task. Would you believe a famine was coming that would last 7 years under those circumstances? That “one day” it was going to end? Would you believe if someone said there was going to be no Costco, or you will not have Amazon to order from and no trucks to deliver it to you? What would your attitude be if your family had sold you to another country, only to show up in the middle of the unfolding drama of a famine and want food?
Widow of Zarephath
She is living through the third year of an ongoing famine, and has survived so far but is on her last bit of supplies. Ask yourself: “How long would I survive if there was a famine “How many meals can I feed my family if I could not go to the store?” She is on her last handful of grain and a small amount of oil. Everything is gone. She and her son have prepared to die after their last meal. Obviously they had gone on with minimal intake for weeks. As she is gathering wood to cook with, a man asks her for her last meal and tells her she will not starve and her food will last till the Lord ends the famine. At that time, she did not know he was the prophet. She trusts in his words. She obviously must trust the voice in her heart to trust him, she feeds him and still has grain and oil left, day after day, till the famine is over. What are the odds?
Pattern: They each did physical preparation first and were obedient to the physical law. Then because of their trust in the Lord from past experience and hearing his instruction and obeying, they had the inner strength and courage to accomplish their task and calling. They did not give in to pointing fingers or criticism. They did not change their mind when it got difficult-for that is the test. They had the spiritual strength to endure and gain the blessings in the end. Something I have also found is the Lord is much more patient than we are. He will wait till the last minute, and usually does, to see if our faith falters and to stretch us–even in the face of death–before the burden is lifted by Him. We want an instant fix. We are impatient. Sometimes I wonder…. how close was I to gaining a miracle or missed out on a blessing? Or how close was I when I faltered and didn’t get the blessing. What would I have gained if I had hung in there a little bit longer?
Obedience + Faith in the Lord = Blessings
Perhaps it is a wise blessing on God’s part that we not know ahead of time too many details…like how long it will take to build a ship or how many pointing fingers will be discouraging us, and what the menu will be during a famine! Neither Noah or Joseph knew fully what was really in store for them. They might have been inclined to give up or find excuses as to why they couldn’t accomplish their designated tasks. God gives us one step or two at a time, usually we don’t have the luxury of seeing the whole picture.
We must muster the faith to believe that we can succeed in such instances that will be equally as difficult or seemingly impossible as the trials were to Noah and Joseph. We have to believe that we can and will endure such trials AND even help others to endure them as a result of our preparations both physically and spiritually today.