Run your race with patience and endurance
Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them (Acts 16:6-10).
We can learn a great lesson from this passage in Scripture. Every time Paul wanted to turn left into Asia, Holy Spirit stopped them. After a couple of years Paul did some of his greatest work in that very region; yet in the beginning Holy Spirit deliberately closed the door for Paul to preach in Asia. The time for that work was not right yet. Apollo needed to go their first to do some groundwork, and Paul and Barnabas still required some further training before undertaking the task.
I see so many people that want to go one way while the doors keep on closing and shutting them out... but still they try and try to force the doors open. What we don’t understand is that a closed door is a greater blessing than a door forced open. Whenever you are in doubt about which way to turn, submit your plans absolutely to the Spirit of God and ask Him to shut every door but the right one.
Father, in the blessed name of Jesus, I ask Your Spirit to take control of each and every one of my decisions. I give you all the rights to my life; please stop everything that is not from You! Thank you for this beautiful promise in Your word in Deuteronomy – and help me Lord not to turn aside from Your commands: “So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess” (Deut. 5:32).
I have seen that God sometimes wants us to make a decision based purely on faith and peace. The Spirit of God longs to be to us what He was to Paul. In order for us to hear His voice so clearly we need to be one with Jesus – only then will we be able to hear His commissioning and His warnings. After we have prayed the prayer of faith and we have the peace of God in our hearts, only then should we proceed forward with a confidant heart. Ask Jesus for His Glory Light to always be on you and to light your way in the path of peace.
Maybe you are facing a door that has been closed to you by the Father’s hand that you had hoped to see widely open by now? Just keep on trusting God for He knows what He is doing. Wait on Him and don’t try to do it by yourself. In my own life I have seen, that just like with Paul, God sometimes shuts the door for a time, but still keeps the key in His hand until you are ready and spiritually mature enough to enter through that door.
Have patience with God’s ways and His timing just as He has patience with you, because He is the one who holds the key to the door of your future. He (and only He) will be able to open that door, so stay in Him!
Ask forgiveness if you were the one who rebelled against His plans. What a sweet comfort it is to know that He is the keeper of the keys to every door in our lives. Just trust Him that He knows what is best for you, because ‘the best’ is truly what He has in mind for you!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD (Jer. 29:11-13).
I find my peace in this wonderful God of ours! What a joy to know that He holds Aldo’s tomorrow in His hands. He holds Tinus, Retah, Josh and Aldo’s tomorrow! Because I know the goodness and the character of the One who is guarding our lives I can rest and be at peace, because He sees all – and He only gives good and perfect gifts!
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages] (Is. 26:3-4, Ampl).
On our trip to Malaysia I know God only allowed Aldo to do certain things. I believe God will release him to do much more one day, but that will be according to God’s timing. Just like Paul he still needs to grow and mature in certain areas, and maturity and character take time to develop.
That is how God deals with all of us. This does not make us bad people or unfit to be used for His kingdom, but only through patience and endurance can we become all God wants us to be. To develop Godly character takes time and it is a process we all need to go through. Trials and tests will reveal the best and the worst in us, and these trials are usually the fastest way to grow in the Lord – if we submit to Him and not turn rebellious.
As I look back over the years of my life I can see how I changed and matured and how God opened different doors for me according to what I could handle. The key to every new level of maturity was humility. As we decrease, Jesus in us can increase and the more God can use us! When we choose the lowest seat He himself will come to call us up higher. Nothing coming from ourselves should interfere with God’s plan - we all need to be totally sold out to the King.
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honour at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honoured in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 14:7-11).
What an amazing trip to Malaysia we had! It was so good for my children to see how the people in the East live and worship God. The Chinese church we attended in Kuching is filled with the Spirit of God! They worshiped like I have never seen people worshipping God before. All of them were on their faces praying together and crying out to God with all their heart.
The tears I cried were for my own nation and the rest of the Western world that is so puffed up with pride. The Chinese church removed all the chairs from the church and the people sat on the floor just to get more people into the hall, and when the room was packed to capacity the people even sat outside in the street. Do you think that people in Western churches will be willing to sit on the floor for three to four hours for a sermon; or fall down on their faces and unashamedly cry out to God?
The service started with true repentance and from there they just kept on worshipping Adonai. What followed was a result of the atmosphere of heaven that was created by the repentance, prayer and worship. The power of God could flow and He could touch and heal people. People were crying out to God loudly and tears were a part of the transforming proses.
They received us with open arms and their Jesus-nature was revealed by their hospitality. I felt so humbled by the way they treated us with such honour and respect. They welcomed us as sons and daughters of the King and I was once again reminded that the Bride of Christ will be those we are in love with Jesus. When you are in love with someone your whole world, your entire being, your everything, belongs to that person. You don’t only go to that special person when you need something from him or her... but you long just to be in their presence.
Tinus and I spent lots of time praying and seeking God, even into the early hours of the morning, just loving Him and asking Him to have mercy on us and to help us walk humbly before our Lord. There is an urgency in my spirit to be one with God in everything I do like never before. We cannot allow anything to take the place of Jesus in our lives. He needs to be the air that we breathe.
Lord Jesus please help us to run our race with patience and endurance – right until the end! Maybe you think patience is to just passively sit and wait for something to happen, but patience is to actively seek and wait on God with a hopeful expectation. There is no more time to sit down with our arms folded. We need to run with the wild horses, and to complete our race with patience and endurance! Like the Scripture says: Those who are led by the Spirit of God, are the children of God! (Rom. 8:14)
To run with patience requires great strength. Strength to go on even if you don’t see the results the way you planned it. In my heart I would love to see Aldo healed already - but GOD’S TIME IS PERFECT and He is saying: “Retah, run your race with patience, My child! I will give you the strength to continue even after a setback, and the power to endure even if your heart is hurting. I will enable you to run with the wild horses even if there is deep sorrow in your spirit... because that is Christ’s character in you. He is the one you should look to and who’s example you should follow. When you follow Christ you will learn that everything is not about you, but what I want to accomplish through you.”
I thank You Jesus for this wonderful trip to Malaysia!
Thank you to all the beautiful people that were such a blessing to us! You abundantly embraced us with your love - it could only be Jesus! Especially Josh (but all of us) enjoyed it so very much. Our prayers will always be with you.
Retah and family