Today’s Scripture: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of thislife; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3–4

Behind every story of success, there is a story of faithfulness under fire. On a stormy night in Birmingham, England, Hudson Taylor prepared to leave for a meeting. His hostess told him he might as well forget it because no one would come out in the bad weather. Taylor wouldn’t hear any of it. He said, “I must go even if there is no one but the doorkeeper.”

Sure enough, Hudson Taylor went, and there were less than a dozen people who had gathered for the meeting at the Severn Street schoolroom. His efforts were not in vain. God used this meeting to touch the hearts of everyone who came. Half of the people present either became missionaries or sent their kids to serve as missionaries. The others became faithful supporters of the China Inland Mission. By the time of Taylor’s death in 1905, he had 205 mission stations in China, with 849 missionaries and 125,000 Chinese converts won through the China Inland Mission. Taylor was able to accomplish what he did through this ministry because he was determined to keep working through difficulty.

Regardless of what we set out to do in life or ministry, we must press on through rain or shine. We will never succeed as long as we allow the storms to stop us. There will always be circumstances which test our faith, trials which shake us to the core, and people who make us uncomfortable. The faithful servant of God keeps on working anyway. Great is his reward.

Today you may encounter great difficulties: health problems, aches and pains, last-minute deadlines, unexpected emergencies involving your kids, conflicts with people at work, or even bad weather. If you want to succeed, you will have to press on through these obstacles. As you move forward, instead of breaking you, each hardship you face will make you into a stronger servant, one who is faithful under fire.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder