I started my journey into becoming a real estate appraiser when my son Brady was six months old. I was so fed up with my job situation at the time, that I was finally willing to give in and pursue a different career path. I knew going into it, it would be a long road but I had no idea just how long it would take me. Not only did I need my 4 year degree, I also needed to complete 225 more classroom hours, plus a two year apprenticeship. My son Brady is now 4 years old, and I am just now within eyesight of the end of my apprenticeship to reach my certification. The only thing, and I mean only thing getting me through this journey is how much I can see how this career change was completely in God’s plan and His will for my life. I can see how my career change has played a huge role in God’s plan for our family to move into church planting. I have persevered down this long road because I know that God is all over it. I believe that Paul in the book of Acts was able to persevere through his journey of spreading the Gospel through the world because he knew that God was not only calling him into serving him in this way but also because He was carrying him through.
Acts 16 tells us that while Paul and Silas were in the middle of their journey in Philippi, they were thrown into prison because of a situation involving a girl controlled by demons. This girl was a money maker for her owners because the demons had powered her with fortune telling abilities. Through a series of events, Paul removed the demon from the girl and in turn also removed the money making opportunity for the owners of the girl. That didn’t sit very well with them. Because they had already been looking for any reason to get rid of Paul and Silas, it was an easy out on their part.
It picks up in verse 22 “The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening to them.”
It would be so easy to look at Paul’s situation and wonder why in the world would he continue, why would he keep putting himself in this place where he knows he is risking everything including death for the name of Christ. Because this is not the first and definitely not the last time Paul would be persecuted for the sake of the Gospel. Paul is able to persevere because he has the greatest example in Jesus Christ. He is able to run this race strongly because he knows that his Savior has ran this race before him. Jesus gave everything for the sake of the glory of God. Jesus came down from heaven to Earth to face the temptations, the beatings, and eventual death. What an amazing example in Him we have to persevere through the calling God has placed us in, no matter what that looks like. For myself, that looked like leaving a career that I was comfortable in and knew, to persevere through a 4 year journey of the unknown because I could see God in and surrounding it. For Paul, this looked like a willingness to give everything to cross the world sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul says in Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who He has given to us.” As we persevere through the plans God has for us, in the trials through these plans, God will continue to grow us, to grow our character. This will only strengthen our faith in Him, through the realization that He has carried us the whole way.
No matter what the situation, no matter where God has called you, you can persevere through the trials. You can persevere through the calling He has given you because you know Jesus Christ walked through His calling before you. Take comfort and peace in the fact that He has sent His Spirit to walk through this difficult life with you!
Written by Ava Coache, Volunteer Lead at Wellspring Church