This past week at Westside Church, I was teaching through Paul’s prayer in his letter to the Colossians. One of the key themes Paul was praying into the life of the Colossian church was endurance. He knew better than anyone the Christian life is no walk in the park. It comes with challenges, persecutions, and requires a great deal of perseverance on our part. God sustains us. God gives us his grace, but it is on us to endure. I was inspired by a story I heard this week from Pastor Simeon Obayo. He’s a personal friend and the pastor of Kakamega Pefa church in Kenya. He recently gave his testimony to a group of Pastors:
“When I was 7 years old my mother sent me to school. She could not afford a uniform so I went to school without one. All I had was a torn shirt and a pair of ripped shorts that showed my bare buttocks to the whole world. Every Wednesday we stood for inspection. Wednesday was my day! It was the day I was caned in front of the whole class for not having a uniform. Week after week I was caned, but I came to school anyway. I learned to take it like a man! I would pull my shoulders back and refuse to cry, so they caned me harder. When I came home with welts on my back my mother could only hug me and pray for me. We had no other choice.
I now look back on those days as the days when the Lord put strength in my soul to endure the trials of life and never give up. That is the reason I am what I am today. No one ever had faith in me, but I never gave up. No one ever helped me, so I helped myself. I showed up and refused to go away, so they gave me jobs. I went places without money and I learned that God always makes a way. I was a poor boy who never had shoes until he was 19, but today I am a pastor and a Bishop over many Churches. Faith for me was something that made me persevere and dare to do the impossible, a gift from God that has given me courage through my entire life”.
What an amazing story! Hopefully this puts the struggles you are facing in perspective. And for those of you who are in the midst of a trial, here is the prayer Paul would pray for you.
Be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…