Devotion: Faith and Trust

April 29, 2020

Jesus said to those following him, “...they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name... By your endurance you will gain your souls.” Luke 21:12, 19

I was on the track team in high school as a sprinter and the race I ran the best was the 440 yard dash – a quarter of a mile that was one lap around the track.  It is a grueling race that requires speed and endurance.  I would start out at top speed then in the middle of the race run at a more comfortable pace and then during the last third do an all-out sprint to the end.  I did not like this race, but I learned a lot about how to endure that I have taken and applied to life.  When I felt like I was going to collapse right as I needed to speed up again, I had to trust in the moment (often with some prayer) that my legs would keep me going. I focused in on my breathing at the same time I kept my eyes on the goal.  I had to stay in the present but not lose sight of where I was heading.

What Jesus’ followers faced was horrible.  Jesus was preparing them for the trials they would undergo.  Jesus gave them two words of advice.  First, when they had to face their persecutors focus on it as an opportunity to testify their faith.  Turning persecution into an opportunity gave what they had to endure meaning, purpose, and a goal. Second, trust God in the moment. “So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.” (21:14-15) In order to endure Jesus advised them to keep their eyes on the goal – spreading the good news – and to trust that God would give them what they need in the moment.

It is the last verse of the passage that I love so much: “By your endurance you will gain your souls.”  There are periods in life that we just have to endure.  Perhaps this is one of them.  Enduring something gives us the opportunity to strengthen our faith and reliance on God, breathing God’s spirit in as we may feel like we are gasping for air.  As we learn to trust more and more that God will give us what we need for the moment, as we become stronger and stronger, we gain our souls.  We find the deepness of God’s love and faithfulness to us and that indeed we can endure.

Prayer: Faithful God, teach us the value of endurance when we face trials of our own.  Help us to find opportunities to grow in our trust that you will give us what we need to get through thick and thin.  Amen.

Written by Rev. Susan Roddey, Director of Spiritual Life at Abernethy Laurels

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