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June 16, 2008

Staying the Course

Do you have what it takes to stay put when trials and difficulties arise? Real commitment is not fair weathered. It is not blown to the left or to the right when the challenges come or when someone makes a suggestion that tickles your emotions. It is not pulled aside by the whispering voice of temptation that seeks to remind you that you are under paid, over worked, and under appreciated. The person who truly is committed remains in the place where God has placed him or her regardless of the pressure, personal pain, and sacrifice until the Lord says differently.

Winston Churchill was convinced England would not fall to enemy threat during World War II. Who in his right mind would have wanted his job? London was under constant attack, the city was being blown to bits night after night, the nation’s economy was waning, and he had to take up residence in a bomb proof bunker. His biographers say he rarely slept. He was up studying German maps and looking over bleak reports that announced England’s sure destruction. Yet he remained convinced that England would emerge from that dark time as a victoriously free nation. Even the King and Queen of England caught his enthusiasm and refused to leave the city.

“England must survive,” he wrote. Most of us are very familiar with the words he spoke during a speech to a group of students at the Harrow School, “Never give in—never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Those words were the total sum of his speech to a group of young men who had waited quite a long time to hear from their country’s leader. Staying the course was not an option. It was a commitment he had made the moment he took the oath to become England’s Prime Minister.

Churchill’s entire focus was set, not on the fact that he was the leader of a great nation, but on the job he had been given to do. In his later years, he wrote that he was convinced God had placed him in the PM position for a point in time. Therefore, his entire life was committed to do what he felt he had been given to do. More than likely, he would have felt the same way if he had been a professor at Oxford or even a head master.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23). Notice Paul’s emphasis is not on men, who are fallible and whose emotions shift with the passing wind but on Christ—our immoveable Rock and the One who has called us to stay the course until He tells us differently.

Someone reading this today may be considering a change that is not God’s best at this point. Feelings of frustration, the thought of long hours spent doing work that is barely noticed, and a personal desire to do something that gains human recognition is tempting you to hand in your resignation. Before you do, consider God’s plan for your life. Has He placed you where you are? Few men could have done what Churchill did—repeatedly asking for help from other countries and receiving little response. His nation was in darkness—bombed to the point of being wiped off the earth. Yet he looked the enemy in the eye and said, “Never. I will never give up.”

How does this translate over to Toccoa Falls College? Dr. Forrest had other job offers. Anyone of them would have relieved the financial sense of burden that he bore most of his life. Watching his wife pull clothes from a missionary barrel tugged at his heart tempting him to do something—anything that would provide for her in a greater way. But she would not hear of it. They had accepted the challenge God had given them years before. And because they never gave up, today thousands of TFC students are in places around the world teaching and proclaiming God’s truth. What greater position could they have held other than doing what the Lord wanted them to do? Absolutely nothing. The same is true for your life.

(Taken from the online devotional Grace in The Wilderness © 2008