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Endurance Training

What marathon are you running right now? I’m not talking about running shoes and a number on your t-shirt. I’m talking about a marathon in life. It might be one you chose that is turning out to be a lot harder and longer than you bargained for. Or it might be one that you would never sign up for, but now you find yourself in the middle of it.

We started a marathon journey two years ago. After a surprising but clear leading of the Lord, we started the adoption process. For almost two years we have pursued an African boy and girl orphan for adoption, and were overjoyed when the adoption was finalized in the African courts this past October.

Then began the visa process so the children could join us in the United States. Our latest hope was to get visas approved in March and bring them home over Spring Break. We set up an extra bed in Karis’ room, began shopping for a bunk bed for Micah’s room, and began clearing room in closets and drawers. But last week we learned our race just got a little longer. We were told it might take another nine months before their visas are approved.

The delay has to do with everything from expired fingerprints and another son turning eighteen years old to requirements of the state we now live in and delays at the U.S. Embassy.

When the immigration officer gave me the news, my heart sank. I was distraught at the thought of more—more time, paperwork, appointments, and money. My thoughts then went to what I had pondered that morning in my time with the Lord. I had read Joshua 10-12 and marveled at the endurance of Joshua and his army. They marched overnight 25 miles (think marathon…in the dark, over rugged terrain). When they reached their destination they immediately went to battle and fought all day. Life and death fighting…all day. If that wasn’t enough, Joshua prayed for more time to finish the battle and God kept the sun up an extra 12 hours for them. Now that’s endurance!

Then a scripture sitting on my desk caught my eye:

“…And we pray this in order that you might live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience [emphasis added], and joyfully giving thanks go the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”  (Colossians 1:9-14)

My heart welled. Yes, I am strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience! And I please Him as I joyfully give thanks to the Father, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of the saints!

I was reminded of a quote from Charles Stanley that I had been reflecting on recently: “God Almighty, the Source of all strength and power and might has already committed himself to enable you through the power of the Holy Spirit always in every situation without exception to enable you to do every single thing God has required of you. You never have to worry about not having enough of what you need to fulfill what God requires of you.”

This is a longer way of saying a verse I’ve been clinging to since this adoption process started: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Many times a day for over a year we have prayed that God’s will be done and HIs perfect timing prevail in all things concerning the adoption and homecoming, so we must believe He is working his Divine plan. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask -- we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

Instead of mentally scripting how we believe this calling will play out and formulating the plan, we must set our eyes only on the Planner. His ways are higher than our ways. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.”

“Real faith trusts in:

  • God’s wisdom (He will do the right thing)
  • God’s timing (He will do the right thing in the right time.)
  • God’s power (He is able to do the right thing at the right time.”

(Source: The Chronological Bible Discipleship Personal Devotion Study, Iva May)

I don’t know what is before us, but God does, and that is enough. Will he do a miracle and get them home sooner than authorities say could happen? Maybe. We know He is able. Or maybe the miracle will be the patient endurance with joy that God puts in our hearts.

At a recent conference I attended, my friend Bonnie told me God had laid one word for me on her heart: Persevere. Wow, I needed that.

Back to your marathon. If you have expressed your faith and hope in Christ, you have everything you need through His mighty power in you to finish victoriously. As Bonnie told me, I tell you: Persevere.

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