So far in this series, I have urged you to consider Christ in affliction (I), and given particular attention to His passion (II), His power (III), and His presence (IV).
Next, consider the patience and perseverance of Christ. As you know, the form of “Chinese torture” that drips one drop of water at regular intervals on the forehead of a prisoner strapped beneath a faucet gets all its power from the duration of the trial, not from the first one or two hundred drops. Insanity is usually the end result.
And so matters might end with you, were it not for Jesus. I know very well that what makes affliction so severe for you is its duration. You often wonder if there will ever be an end and, if so, how you will hang on to the end.
But it is Christ who provides you the strength to bear one more drop, take one more step, live one more day, in the severest of tortures and persecutions. He has earned that provision by enduring His sufferings to their end. Gethsemane, Gabbatha, Golgotha—in each place, He confirmed: “Jesus . . . having loved his own . . . he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). Blood drop by blood drop, for six long hours He poured out His life. And never flinched. Never answered His mockers a word. Never yielded to their taunts: “If thou be the Christ.”
It’s through Jesus’ strength that you too have endured. Look back at the heaviest of your afflictions. How did you bear them through those long nights, months, and years? How did you retain your silence when persecuted? How did you continue on when many challenged, “If you are a Christian”?
Must you not say: Only through the perseverance of Christ have I by grace persevered? Oh, the depth of Paul’s confession: “By the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10a)!
Despite your fears of perishing at the hands of “Sauls” through sixteen long years of persecutions as David did, you will not perish. Jesus has done too much, persevered too long (He is still persevering in intercession!) to let you slip through His fingers. “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
Look more to Christ. Trust more in His promise. Rest more in His perseverance, for your perseverance rests in His. Seek grace to imitate His patience under affliction. Your trials may alarm you, but they will not destroy you. Your crosses are God’s way to royal crowning (Rev. 7:14).