“Celebrate her birthday big this year.”
Those were the words from the head neurosurgeon at one of the nation’s leading cancer hospitals spoken to my parents after I’d been asked to leave the room. And as I approached my eleventh birthday, he’d given me ten months to live.
My family and I fought his death sentence. We couldn’t believe his words to be true. Instead, we stood in faith trusting God that the journey to remove the tumor in my brain would soon come to an end.
But if the truth be told, it was just the beginning.
Over the next six years, I was operated on four times — poked and prodded, stitched and stapled — hopeful to hear promising news. But the reports were only worsening. The tumor was only growing. The cancer was still prominent. And most glaring, I was limboing a tight rope fighting to trust God amidst the lack of progress I was seeing in my life. All I could do was wait. Patiently, wait…. and wait…. and wait even longer.
Waiting for God to move on our behalf is a lonely and weary spot to be in. For me, the uncertainty of when God will answer my prayers terrifies me the most.
But here’s what I didn’t know then that I want to share with you now: perseverance is produced when progress isn’t present.
Have you ever been at a place in your life where you are required to wait on the Lord for an answer?
Maybe a child you are believing in.
Or a broken relationship that you hoped would be healed by now.
Perhaps, a breakthrough in that place that has held you in bondage.
Why is it so hard to continue to trust the Lord when we do not see progress in the middle of our trials?
Because we are humans, we are prone to take matters into our own hands. We tend to see a resolution based on our own understanding of the immediate reality right in front of us. And we give up.
Living in a world of immediate results, our self-satisfying society cannot fathom the concept of waiting. But in God’s economy, waiting is never wasted. Instead, it is intended to strengthen us as we become more like Christ. God uses waiting. It is part of our christian journey. He uses it to teach us how to daily trust in Him. He uses it to prepare us for an even bigger purpose He has ahead of us.
When the opportunity arises to continue to believe even when signs of progress are unseen, the Lord is inviting us to persevere based on His word instead of what we see.
I used to believe perseverance was endurance. Boy, was I wrong! While endurance means tolerating or accepting the obstacles in our lives, perseverance is very different.
It means to press on with the certainty that it WILL happen.
Perseverance is moving forward and growing with Christ, despite the difficulty or delay. Perseverance is walking in the assurance that our Lord has already won the battle. And waiting is the soil where perseverance is grown.
If you are in a place today where your prayers have been unanswered, I challenge you to keep on believing God and His promises. Don’t give up! The perseverance being perfected in your challenging days of waiting will soon be the fuel that lights the way to God’s faithfulness in your trials. God has a plan over your life and will use your season of waiting when you offer it to him!
Tiffany Smiling—writer, speaker, and entrepreneur—is changing the kingdom of God around the globe. She’s a cancer survivor, an injustice fighter and, above all else, she is a devoted follower of Christ. In her book, Your Dream. God’s Plan., Tiffany encourages readers to trade in the broken pieces of their life for God’s greater purpose.
With a heart to rescue the unreached children around the world, she founded the With All My Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to building the global church and caring for vulnerable children. In 2016, she also founded With All Her Heart, an organization equipping woman to fulfill the calling that God has ahead of them. You can connect with Tiffany at www.tiffanysmiling.com or on Instagram!