“And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly” —Luke 22:44
“We all have desert seasons in God when everything in our spiritual life is dry, dusty, and void of inspiration. The only way through is to make a decision in advance that no matter how tough the slogging gets, we’re never going to give up on our pursuit of God. We’re going to abide in Christ no matter what. I’ll let you in on a secret: This kind of tenacious commitment to endurance will open the path to the most meaningful dimensions of relationship with the Lord.
“Seasons not only break the monotony of sameness, they are necessary to productivity. Nothing can live in unbroken sunshine. Constant joy and happiness, with no clouds on the horizon, produces drought. Night is as important as day; the sun must be followed by clouds and rain. Nonstop sunshine only creates a desert. We don’t enjoy storms, but they’re an essential part of a complete life, and the key to victory comes in finding how to weather the storms of life in such a way that they don’t dislodge us from our secret life in God.
“It’s easy to endure in the good times. It’s when the hard times hit that our endurance is proven. When times get tough, it’s tempting to neglect the secret place. Jesus, however, manifested precisely the opposite tendency. When He was hurting, He sought out the place of prayer.
“Paul prayed the Colossian believers would be “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Colossians 1:11). One of the greatest challenges, in the place of hardship, is to suffer a long time with joy. It’s not possible in human strength! Which is why Paul prayed that they might be “strengthened with all might,” for it takes the might of God to rejoice through long durations of painful hardship.
“When we are called to endure with joy, it is imperative we find the solace of the secret place…Simply put, godly endurance is impossible apart from a well-nurtured secret life with God.
“Hardship can be embraced with joy, in my opinion, only when we understand God’s purpose in the pain. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience’ (James 1:2-3). The only way to be joyful in trials is through “knowing”—knowing God’s purpose in it.
“The Scriptures are my source of constancy. Every time I return to them, I am renewed in my posture of waiting on God alone…When I see the unbroken pattern of Scripture, that God eventually reveals His salvation to those who endure, I am strengthened in hope.
“It is in the sanctuary of His presence that we gain understanding into life’s enigmas (Psalm 73:17). The sanctuary of His embrace is where God reveals purpose, which in turn empowers us to endure hardship with joy for we know He is working it all together for good (Romans 8:28).
“The apostle John provides a gripping example of the reward of enduring in the secret place, even in the face of hardship. In his old age, John was exiled to “the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9). There can be no question that he struggled in his 90-year-old frame with the rigors of an island prison…However, instead of succumbing to self-preoccupation or discouragement, he “was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10). In other words, he was proactively enduring the hardship by devoting himself to his secret place love relationship with his Beloved. What was God’s response to John’s endurance and patience? God honored him by granting him an unparalleled revelation of the beauty and glory of Christ Jesus.”—Bob Sorge
“Lord, help me endure all things by holding on to You even more tenaciously. I am tempted to grumble and put You off when things don’t go my way, but this is wrong. May I learn to still wait on You and endure through the night seasons—never releasing You, because only You can bring me into the morning. I know night times must come. Strengthen me with Your might through the night seasons so that I don’t give up on You. Strengthen me, Lord. Many have given up. I will not, by Your grace. Daytime is coming and until it comes, keep me believing; transfixed and focused on You alone. In my times of pain and confusion, never let my heart shift focus from You. I wait on You. You alone are my solution to life’s hardest knocks. You alone will bring me through my desert storms. I cannot afford to let You go. Help me Jesus. Help me to hold on to You, even as You are holding on to me. Amen.”
In your night season, don’t ever think of giving up your faith and your quiet time devotions with God. Keep focused on Him—even through the painful seasons of drought and sorrow. He will come through for you. Just stay connected to Him through the secret place.