While researching for the current middle-grade mystery I’m writing, I came across an interesting character by the name of Pisquetomen. Pisquetomen was a leader of the Lenape Indians during the 18th century and fought to protect his people from banishment and enslavement by the British. While his tenacity and determination are remarkable, the thing about him that caught my attention was the meaning of his name. Pisquetomen means “he that keeps on though it is getting dark.” Wow, what a name!
As I read about this fascinating native American, I couldn’t help but wonder if his name would suit me. Am I one that keeps on going even when things get dark? Am I dedicated enough in my walk with the Lord to keep going when the going gets tough? Unfortunately, I don’t think the name would fit me well at all, for dark times tend to send me scampering away in fear or discouragement. They leave me wallowing in a pit of self-pity and despair, questioning both my worth and my work. It seems I don’t do well in the dark.
Perhaps you can relate to Pisquetomen, and the darkness does not intimidate you. Or perhaps you’re more like me, and the myriad of deadly darts the devil fires at you on a daily basis has you ready to call it quits. If so, here are a few things the Lord has shown me about how to persevere during the tough times:
1) Remember these trials are temporary. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the multitude of difficulties we face in a given week. Financial woes, strained relationships, lousy jobs, jam-packed schedules. Even a quick glance at our to-do lists can send us running for cover. But we must remember that these things are all temporary. We won’t always struggle with finances, relationships, job stresses and schedules. One day, they will no longer exist, so they’re really not worth the added stress. Yes, we have to deal with them, but we don’t have to let them steal our joy. We need to handle each situation the best we can according to God’s guidance and then leave the results to Him.
2) Focus on the eternal. Our tribulations are not everlasting, but there are some things in our lives that are. God never changes. (Hebrews 13:8) He is here for us now, and He always will be. His love is constant. His mercy and compassion are new every day. (Lamentations 3:22-23) Also, for those of us who are saved, that salvation can never be taken away. No matter what we may face in this life, no matter how dark the days may become, the light of God’s love forever shines in our lives. Let’s focus on that instead of the darkness surrounding us.
3) Learn to let it go. Not to sound like Elsa from the Disney movie, Frozen, but sometimes we really need to let things go. Let go of our expectations. Let go of our pride. Let go of the bitterness that’s dwelling up within us. When Peter urged us to cast our cares on the Lord, he didn’t mean “cast” like a fisherman where one tosses it out then reels it back in. The word “cast” means “to roll over upon,” like a cast sheep. It implies that we roll those burdens over onto the Lord and allow Him to bear them. God wants us to let it go so that we are not crushed by the weight of our woes.
In his book, You’ll Get Through This, Max Lucado sums it up this way,
“You’ll get through this. You fear you won’t. We all do. We fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. Hear in the pits, surrounded by steep walls and angry brothers, we wonder, Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten? We feel stuck, trapped, locked in. Predestined for failure. Will we ever exit this pit? Yes! … God gets us through stuff. Through the Red Sea onto dry ground, through the wilderness, through the valley of the shadow of death, and through the deep sea. Through is a favorite word of God’s.”
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isaiah 43:2
What are you facing right now that you need to remember that God will get you through?