Be Not Discouraged but Boldy Move Forward with Perseverance
By Rev Gordon Siu
January 15, 2023
I heard many valuable testimonies from brothers and sisters at the 2022 Year-end Thanksgiving Meeting. These words sounded in my heart: Yes, do not be discouraged but keep following the Lord closely!
One sister has a child with special needs. The child has learning difficulties. For many years, they had been in and out of the hospital. The sister was worried about the child all through the years, and despite frequent prayers, there was no improvement… To everyone’s great surprise, the child had been admitted to university and his mental state miraculously improved. This mother had waited more than 20 years. God answered her prayers when His time came. Another sister said she had been praying for one thing for years. There is still no solution in sight but seeing a ray of hope, she would continue to persist in facing it and to wait for the Lord to accomplish it in His time.
Jesus told a parable about a widow with a plea. The judge ignored her for a long time but she did not give up. She kept “bothering” the judge for help. The Lord said: “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly…” (Luke 18:7-8).
Will God “keep putting them off”? God has His perfect plan. He may not answer our prayer right away but when His time comes, He will not delay and will very quickly give us what we pray for! The key thing, though, is whether the one who prays is still waiting with perseverance by then or has already given up faith.
The Book of Hebrews mentions many spiritual role models who never gave up hope. They had not necessarily received the things promised during their lifetime and yet they still held fast to the Lord all their lives. It is because they prayed, above all, for a heavenly reward, a better home that God promises. Their faith is reflected in their insistence to do good, to be patient in adversity, and in not giving up earnestly following the Lord. These people were not discouraged nor did they regress when what they hoped for had not been realized, for they never lost faith in God! Theirs is the kind of “faith” the Lord will find when He comes.
Sometimes, we are discouraged because we are disappointed in ourselves – we are not as good as we used to; our love for God has turned cold; we have lost the motivation to connect with brothers and sisters and to worship God… When we tend to “look to the self,” we become depressed and weak. We will also be tempted by our pride, which says: My past good performance was due to my strength and wisdom, but now I am powerless and can no longer do anything. This temptation is saying: All my past achievements and ferventness came from my abilities! When we think that our future hinges on our present abilities, our pride will make us discouraged and frustrated.
A father asked Jesus to heal his boy who had been possessed by demons since childhood. Then the father said, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Now this father was aware of his own inadequacy and he did not think it all depended on himself. He “looked to the Lord,” trusting that He can help with his inadequacy! Brothers and sisters, whenever we feel weak, we only need to turn our thoughts to the Lord’s grace and faithfulness, focus on trusting in Him, and we will be able to move forward boldly. We will be able to “smile at” our weaknesses “so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”