But there shall not a hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:18-19)
Christ warns us that we will betrayed by family and friends, that some of us will even die for bearing His name (vs 16-17), but gives us a promise that should we meet death here we have life eternal waiting for us that will not pass. We may be put to death for Him, but that will not keep us from our prize. And so we have this faithful promise and are commanded to possess our souls in patience. In our afflictions we must patiently endure and remain fixed on Christ. As we await His return we must not allow our souls to become troubled or filled with doubt.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8)
God hears us when we call, and He will answer, but we must faithfully be patient, trusting that His response will come in time for His glory to be displayed.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:3-8)
Paul is writing to the Romans who are enduring persecution and instructs them to be joyful in their tribulation. Because it is in this they will learn to patiently endure, their character (a godly character) will be developed and their hearts molded and conformed to the image of God. Knowing that this molding is taking place gives us reason to be filled with great joy. We were created in God's image and as such we are - by God's grace - to mirror His nature. As He is patient with us, so we ought to be with others. Even in the midst of unjust persecution. Christ modeled this so very well for us as He endured the cross.
And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:32-34)
If that isn't patience, if that isn't what we are to be conformed to, I don't know what is. He was being put to death in one of the most humiliating ways man could imagine and still He is consumed with concern for the very people putting Him to death. He doesn't fight, He doesn't try to escape, rather He heads to that cross with every intention of being nailed to it. He came and bore our shame so that we could have the opportunity to turn to the Father. He had a path before Him that He knew He had to walk, and He did it.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet, a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:36-39)
We must endure, the Bible makes that abundantly clear. We must wait for His return (or our departure, which ever comes first) with a patient endurance. We are surrounded by people who are watching us, watching the way we conduct ourselves, some even watch just so they might pounce upon us as we stumble. But in all of this we must continue on, we must not give up our pursuit of His holiness in our lives. We must not turn back to our old ways.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1)
Sometimes it is difficult to keep on, there are so many temptations in this world, so many distractions, but we must. If we truly long for His glory to be displayed in our lives we have no choice but to press forward. We must go on, we must faithful walk the path that God has given us to walk. And in those times of tribulation, in those times of frustration we can take comfort in knowing this world is not our home and there is a treasure waiting for us in heaven.