Joshua Bogunjoko is the International Director for SIM International, a missionary organization with a worldwide outreach. Given his position, he has a unique and informed perspective on what it means to follow Christ in hard times and circumstances. Mr. Bogunjoko writes, “Gaining God’s perspective amid adversity means taking the long view. Our experience of adversity today may be for the work of God in days, months, and years to come. It may be for someone’s encouragement a generation from now.”
It often seems the work we do for Jesus doesn’t matter. No matter how much we pray, study, and serve, it’s difficult to see the needle moving. But God is always at work, weaving together every event on the human stage—now, in the past, and in the future—to bring about His sovereign will.
Taking the long view will help you keep discouragement at bay. We don’t serve in order that we might get some instant gratification. Our mission is to plant seeds (I Corinthians 3:6-8). We don’t know when those seeds will flourish and grow. It could be tomorrow, or it could be a century after we die. The outcome is not something for which we are responsible. We are to be obedient and trust God to handle the rest. He will. If we will be faithful to the work He gives us to do, the harvest will come.
We must never cease doing the work of God. Fatigue and discouragement will come, but we must push them aside. Those are the light and temporary afflictions Paul told us we would endure (2 Corinthians 4:17). Don’t stop. Don’t quit. When you are tired, lean on Jesus. Hold tightly to Him and let Him pull you through the pain and fatigue. Taking the long view means we may never see the destination in our lifetime. We must just keep taking the next step, being obedient in the next moment. That is all Jesus asks of us.
We have placed too much emphasis on short-term gains for the Kingdom. Churches across the country and around the world focus on getting as many commitments as possible with little follow-up or concern for the discipleship of those new converts. Pastors teach only about the love and benefits of Jesus, leaving most unprepared to face the battles and hardships to come. Following Jesus is a hard life, full of persecution, long days, and grueling nights. But His love is more powerful than all that. If we will hold fast to Jesus through the hard times, the rewards will exceed our every expectation. We will be with Him for eternity!
When we are taking the long view, it won’t bother us when we cannot see short-term results. We’re in this for the long haul. We know how the story ends and look forward to the glorious coming of our resurrected King. Until that day, we must be about His work and helping as many as we can escape the horrors of an eternity without Christ. Our job is not glamorous, but the end game is glorious. Don’t be discouraged. Keep going. The end is assured. Peace is coming. Take the long view and keep pushing on.