Keys to the Kingdom – By Carolyn Tucker
When I was expecting our first child, my Mom tried to encourage me with these wise words, “After a woman has a baby and she sees and holds it for the first time, she forgets all about the pain.” So I was banking on that to happen when I delivered my first child. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but my amnesia never did kick in. That’s the only time my Mom lied to me. However, I can honestly say that it was worth it — both times.
Christ followers have to keep on and stand strong in the pain of adversities. We have His promises and the privilege of going boldly to God’s throne for whatever we need. We mustn’t give up or give in when the going gets rough.
Believers need to make up their minds and purpose in their hearts that no matter what, they’re going to be radically dedicated to Jesus. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Endurance is defined as the ability to last, continue, or remain. “For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy” (James 5:10,11 NLT).
“The path of the godly leads away from evil; he who follows that path is safe” (Proverbs 16:17 TLB). Should you wander off the good path, don’t despair. One of Satan’s meanest tricks is to try to convince you that you’re a big fat fail and you might as well give up. The enemy of your soul doesn’t want you to know God‘s Word: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23,24 NKJV).
One of my favorite songs, “I Won’t Turn Back,” was written by Geron Davis, Tim Pedigo, and Janet Paschal. The lyrics encourage me to keep going. “It’s a struggle for survival, we daily meet the foe. Out there on the battlefield sometimes we stand alone. That‘s when I reach for my holy armor; I pick up my shield of faith and I march onto the battlefield — I take up my sword and say, ‘The mountain is high but it’s not too steep. The battle is rough but I’m not too weak. And I won’t turn back, oh no, I won’t turn back! The road is hot but it’s not too long. And the enemy is near but he’s not too strong. And I won’t turn back, oh no, I won’t turn back.’ In the face of strong resistance, we press on through the night. For often on the battlefield we walk by faith not sight. We march through persecution, determined come what may. We have to fight a good fight; we have to keep the faith!”
“The godly have a refuge when they die” (Proverbs 14:32 TLB). I love to use my husband’s preaching Bible. Jimmy underlined the following verse: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT). If I could ask him today, “Was it worth it?” I know he would answer, “Oh my, yes!”
The Key: When you’ve run your final race and you see your Savior’s face, it will be worth it all.