James talks about how vital perseverance is when it comes to facing the many different kinds of trials that come our way. In fact, he encourages us in James 1:2-4 to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
If we are to mature as Christians we need to know the secret of perseverance. I asked God to teach me about that and He took me to Proverbs 30:24-28 where we are told: “Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; coneys are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.”
To be honest, I didn’t immediately understand how this Scripture would help me to persevere; but after much prayer I now see that it does because it teaches me about wisdom found in strange places! The writer says that these are all small creatures — in other words we would consider them insignificant — we would likely overlook them as unimportant, but they do have much to teach us.
The first creature mentioned is the ant; and though it has little strength when compared to us, we can learn from its wisdom because it stores up its food in the summer. In other words, it makes the most of times of plenty to lay up a store for times of hardship that will surely come. I remembered how Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God” and I realized that we need to be storing up the food of God’s Word in our own lives as something that will sustain us through the times of trouble that will surely come to all of us!
Quite remarkably, ants have two stomachs – one stomach holds the food for the ant itself and the other holds food to be shared with other ants! I think, in a similar way, to persevere through times of trial as an individual and as a body of believers, we are not only to store up and take in enough spiritual food for ourselves, we must make sure that we have enough of God’s Word within us to be shared with others in their time of need!
Coneys are also creatures of little power. Their only strength is that they make their home in the crags — the high places — which gives them a vantage point over their enemies. The Hebrew word in the Bible here means “crag or cliff” but it can also mean “a place of security” or the “stronghold of Jehovah.” As I considered this I realized that these animals hide themselves in the Rock. Scripture tells me that Christ is the Rock and that I must hide myself in Him. But these animals also teach us that it is wise to learn to look at things from above — from God’s perspective! There’s safety in seeing things from heaven’s point of view.
I have always told my children that our attitude matters. We may not be able to choose what happens to us in life but we can choose how we will react to what happens to us. We can ask God to help us see things from His perspective. Join me next time when we’ll continue to study this passage together.
May God bless you