A few weeks ago Russ and I went to see the movie 1917. If you are unfamiliar with the story, it is about a mission that two British soldiers were sent on that was basically “mission impossible.”
It is a very good movie and in this day of internet communication and cyber war, it was a stark reminder of the generation my parents were born into. Action packed from the get-go, it never let up for a moment and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.
Thankfully for Russ, the plot was not very complex so I didn’t pepper him with questions throughout the story line, but I was wincing and dodging bullets and pretty exhausted by the end of it.
These two young men had to cross No Man’s Land, still firmly held by the Germans, and were in constant danger and so early on in the movie, I was convinced they would die quickly.
Rather than mention this thought to Russ, I tried to keep my heart rate down to a healthy beat and pondered the likelihood of their certain demise but then I did what I always do in this kind of situation.
I talked myself down from the ledge of despair. My rational voice spoke up amidst all the other clamor going on in my head and reminded me that they couldn’t both die right out of the gate because the movie would be over and it wouldn’t be much of a story.
I relaxed a little on that panic track and prepared myself emotionally for all the horrid things that could happen for the next hour and 55 minutes.
I am a blast to take the movies, in case you haven’t figured that out.
I do this in most movies unless it is one of those romantic comedies in which I know how it will end and it’s just a matter of watching all the shenanigans transpire to get us to the point where the two protagonists find true love. Kind of.
I am always watching the action with the tension that the “good guy” won’t win.
So this morning as I read from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, I realized how easy it is to live a life of faith with this same mind set. And it is so very wrong to do so, because in the entertainment industry, the good guys are sometimes actually rather not so good and sometimes the thrill of the story is that no one wins or evil does or however the script is written.
And the story of Redemption is not written for entertainment or out of the capricious mind of someone’s fantasy world.
Please note that I read a day ahead because of travel, so I am referring to the February 22nd writing in his collection of devotions, but Oswald is speaking about the Discipline of Spiritual Perseverance in this writing and he bases it on the familiar passage “Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10
He talks about how perseverance in the matters of our spiritual life is not just a hanging on out of fear of letting go. Perseverance in our faith is overcoming the fear that somehow God will not win.
He points out that we think of perseverance as endurance: plugging away and hanging in there. He words it so beautifully:
“It (perseverance) is endurance combined with an absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.”Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; February 22. Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. 1992
I want to point out that sometimes we have placed our “hope” for what we are looking for in something we have fashioned for ourselves as a “promise” of God.
An example would be that everything will turn out right in this life and if we play by the rules and do all the things, it will be smooth sailing.
This would be a false hope and is not even biblical.
Jesus told us, “In this world, you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
So in this case, perseverance would not be with an eye set on avoiding trouble but with a strong faith that in the midst of trouble, He still is Sovereign and He still wins. Every time.
We will face disappointments and setbacks and unfulfilled hopes and dreams that seemed good and right and from God.
But it is in those that He is refining us and shaping us more into the image of His Son and what He does will be good for us and for others, as we … endure…and persevere…and wait…in expectation and hope.
It is hard work and one we will need to call upon God to help us with, exercising that dynamite power of the Holy Spirit so we can wait well.
As Oswald Chambers says,
“Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered.”Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; February 22. Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. 1992
So sit tight.
Hold fast to your faith.
He is able to do more than we could ever think to ask or imagine.
He is worth, and worthy of, the wait <3