There are many struggles in life. We most likely learned that challenges can be actual lessons for us or an opportunity to support others in our life as they learn or grow through something. I know in my life, when I am in a difficult situation and I know I am being tested, I just want to get it over with. I just want to hurry up and learn what I need to learn or show me what I am supposed to glean. My flesh just wants to be in control; in an essence, it just wants to tell God: “come on God, get on with it. You’re wasting time. We got better things to do”.

There have also been times when I have fallen into the victim role.  I was less mature in my walk with Christ, so I would just think that challenges were torture or punishment from God for all I have done bad. I knew God could change my circumstance, and he hadn’t, he must not love me.

Do you have experiences or still struggle with the situations where you either get impatient or blame God while in the middle of a challenge/struggle?

There is a character in wholesome Christians that we can look at for situations such as this. It is referred to as steadfastness.  The meaning of the word is to “endure patiently“. That is actually a behavior condoned by the bible and to be honest, it just does not even sound healthy.  When I have to endure, as I said, I just want to get it over with. I am definitely not patient when I am enduring something.

How do you handle times of challenges?  Are you patient? Do you have an example where you believe you were steadfast during a challenging season? Do you recall, when you were truly not steadfast?

A steadfast person is one who is reliable, faithful, and true to the end.

We have had several men in our group that have had the season of going through a long period of supporting their parent before death.  They were challenged, they got tired. There were days of disappointment, challenges, frustrations, but we can see after the season that each of them has shown steadfastness. Each of them has put on display their character of being reliable, even when they didn’t want to. They have been faithful and committed right up to the end. To that we thank God for these men, but we also acknowledge it was difficult, it was not easy.

It does not have to be a season with an elderly loved one, but are you, someone close to you, going through a season of testing? Or season of trial that could be developing steadfastness?

When we are in challenging situations, support, love and encouragement are so beneficial. We can only imagine how difficult times could be if no support.

Paul actually says Jesus was a person of steadfastness:
For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.  May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:3-5

Paul was describing the conscious decision to engage in relationships with people that are in more difficult situations than one’s self. To  encourage, assist and support others in difficult times.

Can you recall some situations where Jesus engaged with people in chaos or in trial? Where it was his decision to engage?

We know through those examples that life did not get easier for Jesus with his decision to engage with those in need, but it was actually became more challenging.  If we acknowledge that we are not Jesus, but we need to exude more character similar to Jesus, we need to take the focus off of us and engage with others as Jesus did.

Reliable, faithful and true to the end.  I know that steadfastness is definitely character I wish to resemble and grow in. In the book of James, we learn that testing during trials is actually beneficial…
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. – James 1:5

Paul as another great encouragement to us in the book of Romans:
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. – Romans 5:3-5

Let us be at peace as we know God is with us and working in us for his use. He is sharpening and taking care of his instruments to be used for his glory. He is not done with us yet!!

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Let STEADFASTNESS be in sight and encouraging to us as we go through life and get challenged and question the opportunity to engage with others. Allow God to transform us for His glory.