Sunday, April 15, 2007

Minty Fresh Perseverance

Five months ago, when I left our apartment in China with the kids to go join my husband in Hong Kong, I thought in my head that we'd be gone one, maybe two, months at the most. I won't say I never thought we'd be gone almost six months, but believe me when I tell you, I never thought we'd be gone almost six months! Because he had gone ahead, we found ourselves with two tubes of Crest toothpaste, purchased in our home city in China. I remember laughing, thinking, why did I bring another tube of toothpaste? (I strive for efficiency in our travels, after travelling to multiple countries multiple times with a family of five. I'm really not keen on unnecessarily duplicating packed items.)

Little did I know, I'd be sitting here in Texas, five months later, with my perseverance so linked to the one remaining tube of toothpaste. I never thought we'd outlast it. A bit of sadness stirred up inside of me when I notice that the last tube is almost empty. It sounds silly to say it, but I really didn't want to use it up without being back in China.

The other day, I was listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss on the radio, and she made this point that so resonates with me:
perseverance is hardest when you don't know how long you're going to have to persevere. If I knew we'd be back in the States another 2 months or just 2 weeks, then I could kind of rest easy and enjoy the rest of the time, but not knowing how long it will be until the doctors clear us to return is becoming more and more difficult to bear. Each week that passes leaves us with no more answers, nothing else to tell the people who ask, and nothing to tell ourselves.

This morning I read in Romans 8 about how the Spirit bears witness inside of us that we are God's children, and just like earthly children have the details of their lives linked with their earthly fathers (for example, our children have flown in innumerable airplanes over the last 15 months of their lives), ours are linked with our heavenly Father. And just like earthly children receive an inheritance because of that tie to their parents, it says we are,

"heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."
And then, just about the time that I was thinking, "wow, all this waiting will be nothing in comparison to the eternal glory of Christ...", I read this:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, ... in hope that the creation itself will be set free."
Now while I recognize that what we've gone through over the past five months has been significant, there is no comparison with the length of time that the fallen creation has been waiting to be restored to perfection. Our tube of toothpaste will soon run out, but I pray that our perseverance will not. I hope we will stand ready to do His will no matter how long we wait. If you're waiting on something too, I pray you'll be faithful also, until you see the purpose of your perseverance.


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