Today I want to talk about endurance.
Recently I’ve had to push through the pain and persevere, to keep on keeping on, to stay the course. It has not been an easy road, and at times, it has been very lonely. Moments have come and gone when I’ve questioned myself, doubted this narrow path and considered turning back.
But that still small voice continued to speak to me, urging me to not give up. Just hold on a little longer, He said. The right way may not seem like the logical way to the human mind, but then again, the mind is fallible and man’s ways are not God’s ways.
There is something to be said about sticking to your guns. It’s hard when everyone else is pressing you to flip to their side, to give in to their way of thinking. But instinctively, thanks to the Spirit within, you know what you are doing is what you’ve been called to do. It resonates from deep inside and you know that at some point you will see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
I think about the heroes of ancient and their stories of endurance:
Abraham was called to go even though he did not know where he was going. He had to uproot his brood, leave his homeland and travel across the desert and mountains. Then Abraham had to live in a tent (not an actual dwelling, not a true house) for 75 years. I wonder if he began to silently question God’s judgment in the whole unsettling process. But Abraham stayed the course and made it to promised land of Canaan. His confidence was in God and he didn’t let the darkness permeate his choices. (Genesis 12)
Joseph had a rough time of it from the get go. His father favored his mother over the other women in his life; therefore his half-brothers resented him early on. Their hate led them to sell him into slavery at the age of 17 and downhill his life tumbled. He tried to stand his ground by sticking to his morals, but that only got him into more hot water. But God didn’t forget him. Joseph eventually gained high favor and was promoted to a high position in the Egyptian government at the age of 30. (Genesis 37-41)
Joshua was among those to travel with Moses and help lead the Israelites into the promised land of milk and honey. All the grumbling and disobedience caused 40 years of wandering in the desert to ensure an entire generation disappeared. Joshua ended up being only one of two of the original tribal warriors allowed to actually cross the Jordan River. It was quite a responsibility to follow in Moses’ footsteps and to lead the remaining refugees. But Joshua took it in stride and stood strong and courageous, as God had commanded. (Numbers 13, Joshua 1)
Fast-forward to Saul turned Paul, a tentmaker who endured shipwrecks, ungrateful people and prison time for his pursuit of the spreading the gospel. And yet, so in love with the Lord, he was willing to suffer on Christ’s behalf. He told us to let our light shine, to make it our goal to please Him, to boast about our weakness so God gets the glory.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up,” commented Paul in Galatians 6:9. Letter after letter he wrote about persevering, about enduring, about standing firm in the Spirit.
I’ll take one more line from the man who considered everything a loss compared to the greatness of knowing and living for Christ: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. … One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining forward toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 3:12-14