“But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:26)
Christ says this right after speaking of the challenges the Church in Thyatira will have to endure as they look for Christ’s soon coming. Patient endurance is a noble principle, but applying the principle on a daily basis is often easier said than done. But that’s the thing about Christ-centered endurance. We don’t have to run on our own will power. We can receive power from the True Source of strength—our Loving Savior. That’s where patience comes into the picture. Deliverance from our trials will come someday. We can wait on the Lord until then (Psalm 33:20).
This promise can be illustrated by the Alaskan woolly bear caterpillar’s life cycle. The woolly bear’s life starts out like most that of most caterpillars; it emerges from its egg and then starts gorging itself on all the greenery it can get its pinchers on. But, unfortunately, the arctic summer isn’t long enough for it to store up enough fat to form a chrysalis and become a moth. As the bite of winter comes, it crawls under a rock and allows the ice to slowly gnaw its way into its body. Its hair crystallizes, its heartbeat appears to stop, and its blood actually freezes. It looks like the troubles of arctic life have squelched the little larvae; but then, next summer, it emerges from beneath the rock alive and well and begins gorging itself again. The same process happens next winter as the caterpillar crawls into its lair and seems to give in to frost, but it still comes out alive each spring. It goes through this cycle for 14 years, constantly hovering between transformation and an icy grave. But finally, on the 14th year, it manages to store up enough reserves to form a chrysalis and become a free-flying moth. In the midst of troubles and setbacks, the caterpillar still kept waiting and its victorious day came. That’s what patience looks like friends.
In the same way, we may feel like we’re constantly hovering between deliverance and darkness, not sure if we can muster enough strength for the next round. But if we look above our troubles and keep our eyes fixed on our Jesus, we can receive a fresh dose of power and have assurance of final victory someday. Christ has a painless, tearless eternity planned for each of us if we’ll just keep clinging to Him.