When the words came out of the pastor’s mouth I knew they had value. What stunned me was how exact they were. In fact they were almost identical to what I had written in my journal just days before. No one but God knew.
On November 29, 2004, the pastor spoke “Don’t give up hope, fight for hope. I see a horse in the gate stomping to get out.” “You’re a sprinter, get in do the job, get it done.” “But God wants you to know that you are built for endurance. You are an endurance runner.” “Anchor hope with endurance.”
When something like that happens I know that God is not only in my midst but something is on my horizon. Prophetic words are often released as encouragement before God extends an invitation to walk with Him on a new path. As I walk with Him through the hills and valleys of life’s circumstances, He works behind the scenes establishing the fruit of His labor.
I’ve recently started walking my neighborhood several days a week. Being in the mountains the steep roads challenge my out of shape body. It would be really easy to give up and find something more pleasurable to do with my time. But I want to lose weight, I want to feel better, so I press on.
There’s one specific patch of road that is my greatest challenge. It’s the incline that gets me to my driveway. As I come upon it and look at how far I’ve yet to go, it’s then the body does it’s talking to the mind and the mind tries to convince the will. “You’ll never make it.” “Look how steep it is.” “You’re really hurting.” “Quit here.”
At that point I have no choice but to set my face like a flint. If I focus on my feet and that next step, I keep moving, endurance kicks in. If I look around me at what’s before me, I know I’ll never make it. I’ll give up.
The years since that prophetic word, have felt much like that incline. So many times I’ve wanted to give up. Pain, heartache, weariness have spoken to my heart. But Jesus inside kept calling me back to one step at a time. “Set your face like a flint on me.”
Today I was challenged to ask Jesus the following question: “What one aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is really active and growing in you?”
I asked, He answered. “Long-suffering”. What? Are you kidding me? Really? I was shocked!
I would have never picked that one. It’s never been true of me. It’s not one of my natural characteristics. I’ve never liked waiting, ask my family. Just like that horse at the gait, I’ve always been ready to move. Patience was not a characteristic anyone would have used to describe me.
But Jesus did.
I was taken back when I looked up the Greek meaning of long-suffering: patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance.
I see it now. These last few years, God’s been making me into an endurance runner. Out of desperate need, I’ve had to keep my eyes focused like a flint on His face to move me through that one step in front of me. In the process, little did I know, He’s been renewing my mind, by exchanging my broken flesh with the character of His indwelling Spirit. He says I’m long-suffering. Amazing. He really does work miracles. He’s transforming my mind.
Life takes on a deeper meaning as I see through His eyes what He’s doing inside me. Today He revealed the fruit of His labors. It matters. It really does. Endurance is having it’s perfect work. As I look into His eyes I see joy at the harvest He has borne in my heart. It makes it all worthwhile. For my light and momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
What’s Jesus harvesting in your heart? Why not ask Him to reveal to you that one characteristic of the Holy Spirit He's now developing in you?
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
©copyrighted 2009, Julie L. Todd