Jim Stockdale was an American pilot in the Vietnam war. He was captured and made into a Prisoner of War. He spent 8 gruesome years in a war camp in Vietnam, tortured almost daily. After he was able to escape, he explained how he survived and why both optimists and pessimists were the first ones to die in the camp. He went on to explain that optimists cling to the notion that good would prevail over evil and they will be rescued. Pessimists do not cling to anything; they die from a lack of hope. He went on to say: “You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. AND at the same time…You must confront the brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be”.
I would consider myself a realist. I try to accept things for what they are and process things the best way I know how, but because of my relationship with God, faith plays a part in that interruption, too. And my belief that He's faithfulness most often ignites a response.
But can we talk about having persevering faith? Faith like this comes from an assurance that God is in control and present. And, if we really dig into God’s Word, He gives us that assurance in 1 Corinthians 10:13.
We can trust that God is faithful and He has mapped out a strategy or a way out. But why is it so hard to remember that when we are in the middle of a mess of decisions or craziness that we never anticipated? Most often, for me, it was because my faith was in what I can do, and not what He already knows. We focus on the situation and not God. Faith is a divine response to divine revelation - it is confidence. Faith precedes work. Faith only comes after an encounter with Christ and there is a transformation.
What if the very thing that altered the course of your life was a door that God opened to draw you closer to Him? God wants to give you power over your fear, your problem, your mind, and your situation.
Jim Stockdale survived and lived with the ramifications of those 8 years daily, but his courage did not stop when he escaped, he tapped into it continuously throughout his lifetime. He has a story that transcends his wounds. His focus never rested on the situation, he survived because of his faith.
1 Corinthians 10:13 TPT
13 We all experience times of testing which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously.
James 2:19 1
9 You can believe all you want that there is one true God, that is wonderful! But even the demons know this and tremble with fear before him, yet they are unchanged—they remain demons.