Endurance: It Is in Us
There was once a musical called Stop the World I Want To Get Off. I’ve never watched it. But I’ve got to be honest with you, folks. That desire has beat in my heart more than once this past week.
We are surrounded by distress on every side, aren’t we? But we Jesus-following warriors have something the rest of this fighting world doesn’t have: the God-sustained ability to endure. I cannot fathom weathering this storm without Jesus in the boat, as they say.
We can confidently make this claim because we have two Mighty Sources of strength for courage—the Spirit and the Word.
“Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.”
These sheltering days are a huge adjustment for the majority of us. We’re just a few days into what may well be several weeks of quarantine, and people are already wearing thin. As with any adjustment, there is a learning curve. Stick with it and flatten the curve, friend. It will get better! With practice and repetition, you will gain a satisfying rhythm and routine.
All the while, remember that we are amply supplied for our daily overcoming. (No hoarding necessary.)
I won’t deny that we find ourselves challenged to maintain faith and hope in these harrowing days. But no more so than when the Hebrews author penned,
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:23)
Those saints who endured great persecution are testimony of God’s infusing power to fuel overcoming faith.
Jesus promised His disciples, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Tough times are not surprising to God. Their very existence can drive a heightened concern for others in us, fuel our hunger for righteousness, and increase our desire to shine His light even brighter. What they cannot do is overcome or immobilize us.
Rather, we make it our aim to renew minds with the teachings of Jesus. Such as with these God-breathed words:
“Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with Him,
we will also live with Him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with Him.
If we disown Him,
He will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
He will remain faithful,
for He cannot disown himself.”
(2 Tm. 2:11-13)
God determined that His certain Word would arm us in these uncertain times.
Paul testified to God’s deliverance from all the persecutions and sufferings he endured in his letter to Timothy with this gem:
“Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.” (2 Tm. 3:11b)
The Greek word translated as rescue means to “draw to oneself”.
God brought Paul through many dangers and persecutions in order to bring him closer.
That very testimony is now for our edification . . . our fortification. It declares the goodness of the Lord to draw us to Himself in dangerous times.
In his final closing to this same letter, Paul further proclaimed:
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Tm. 4:18)
That confidence is ours! And it will add endurance to our faith at every recall.
One of our worst enemies is fear. When it strikes (and it will), don’t give it control. By honestly naming them in prayer, give your fears over to God who is in control.
Another pitfall is discouragement. It has a way of causing us to forget what we know to be true. However, when we remain in the Word and in prayer—they wake us out of our amnesia. Then the Spirit can speak endurance into your heart.
Endurance is in us, because He is in us.
We can fight the urge to want off this wild world. Why? It’s because we know how desperately it needs us—only because it needs Him. He is present in us. And we can be His much-needed presence of peace, patience, kindness, and wisdom until His new earth arrives in glory.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.”