Perseverance and Joy

By David Lyons

Commemorating the 100th Issue of Worldwide Newsletter

Worldwide Cover October 2018.jpg

To celebrate the 100th issue of Worldwide, we are republishing three inspiring articles by three admirable men—Jerry White, Mike Treneer, and Mutua Mahiaini. Jerry and Mike are former International Presidents of The Navigators. Mutua has been serving in that role since 2015.

First published in Worldwide between 1992 and 2014, all three articles explore how we can live joyfully with God through hardships and trials. Such a theme might not seem too celebratory, but there is a good reason for this choice. Our ministry is rooted in God’s promises and, as the writer of Hebrews said, we need to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what God has promised to us as Navigators (Hebrews 6:12).

For the past 25 years, this newsletter has provided a real-world view of how Navigators are serving God to advance the Gospel among the nations. Worldwide’s writers and editors have avoided hype and public relations spin. In fact, the newsletter archive ( which you can search on this site) is filled with stories about how God is empowering us to joyfully persevere in the face extreme opposition.

The articles in this issue by Jerry, Mike and Mutua capture the essence of God’s faithful presence with us.

The first article, titled “The Road to Joy,” was written by Jerry in 1992 for the fifth issue of Worldwide. Jerry authentically explores his struggle to experience God’s joy (not mere happiness) even amid painful experiences. He wrote the article not long after he and his wife, Mary, had lost of their son, Steve, who was murdered.

Mike Treneer, who served as International President of The Navigators from 2005 to 2015, first published his article “Don’t Lose Heart” in September 2000 (issue 36). Mike’s article presents what the Scriptures reveal about experiencing joy during times of suffering. At that time, he wrote from his experience of believing God’s promises while leading our work throughout Africa. He concludes that, “Our confident expectation of our resurrection with Jesus transforms our attitudes toward life’s trials and troubles.”

Last, but not least, is an article by Mutua titled “Communities of Grace,” which was first published in the January 2014 issue of Worldwide (issue 81). Mutua shows us the vital need for strong, loving, committed communities. A community of grace, he says, is essential not only for spiritual growth, but for our ability to persevere victoriously through life’s trials. It is more and more evident that every Navigator needs such a community to live as an authentic disciple in increasingly hostile environments.

Jesus made it clear that His work in the world would require us to “take up the cross,” to die to the self. For some Navigators, this means risking their lives daily. Some Navigators have been killed. Some are called to leave their families to serve as cross-cultural missionaries. Others travel thousands of miles to provide ongoing, supportive leadership for those pioneers. Many others dedicate their administrative talents to sustain our work. Thousands of people give generously to support our efforts. All of us are called to persevere in our calling within the complexities of our families and relational networks.

Collectively, all this taking up of the cross has resulted in a remarkable Worldwide Partnership that God has expanded into 115 nations. This special edition of Worldwide is, therefore, a reminder of God’s faithfulness to the Navigator work during the past eight decades. He is the One who has carried us this far and He is the One who will lead us forward.

The Road to Joy

By Jerry White

First published April 1992

Photo courtesy of Ryan Wallace

Photo courtesy of Ryan Wallace

What is joy? Where can you find it? Is it hope deferred, like enjoyment of eternal life after enduring pain and sorrow here on earth? Is it the emotional highs we experience in our walk with Christ? Search with me for that joy that some so blithely promise to prospective believers in Christ.

I have wrestled with this paradox for some time and am still wrestling with it. So I cannot present here any finished solution or set of rules, or even sound logic. Joy is too elusive for that. Would be comforters (ask Job!) give us short, simple and sure answers. But real life doesn’t fit their prescriptions. In difficult or troubling experiences, we desperately need God’s joy.

Here are some of my current discoveries about joy. Joy begins with God’s promise. “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11). God promises joy. Christ provides it. I must trust that He has not lied to me or introduced a false hope.

Life is punctuated with experiences wherein I taste the gain or loss of happiness. But happiness is not joy. Even God-given happiness is not joy. It is the foretaste, the appetizer. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

God-planted joy looks beyond the emotional highs of temporal happiness. In fact, it looks beyond the present lows of sorrow and despair. The Holy Spirit opens my eyes to a deeper satisfaction than I can ever experience through succeeding in a job, using my spiritual gifts, or seeing our children born and grow to maturity. This new vision allows me to see and taste a deeper purpose and joy that God promises and wants me to experience to the full . . . “that my joy might remain in you” (KJV).

When this joy invades my life, it settles in the inner citadel of the soul. It is there regardless of circumstances. It is boundless. It will not displace the emotional highs but will delight in them. It will not disappear with emotional lows but will live above them—while not excluding expressions of grief or sadness. This quality of joy is a safety net that allows me to fall and not get hurt. “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Joy actually grows through trials and suffering.

Finally, fullness of joy coincides with being in the very presence of God. “Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11). Only as I learn to walk in intimate relationship with God through Christ does this joy take root in my soul.

Thank you for walking with me on the road to understanding and experiencing true joy. I’m not there yet. I am a pilgrim walking where I have never walked before.