‘Staying the course’
Endurance means ‘sticking at it.’ But endurance is only a word until you have to deal with a parent’s divorce, a prolonged illness, or the rebuilding of your life after a tragedy. Endurance is also a word which carries a lot of meaning when it comes to describing the preparation, practice, and hard work that leads to success. It takes commitment to keep going when friends fail you, discouragement whispers ‘give up,’ and doubt says ‘it can’t be done.’ That’s when endurance takes on new meaning. It becomes your anchor in the storm, your compass in times of confusion, and the head of steam that gets you up the next hill. Remember, Jesus knows how it feels, and believe it or not, He is using those hard times to help us grow. Also He gives us two great promises:
1) His comforting presence (see Isaiah 43:2-5)
2) the assurance that He won’t permit more pressure than we can handle (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
But there’s another thing to remember; other people are watching! Paul (with a bit of help from Eugene Petersen) writes, ‘People are watching us as we stay at our post…working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness and honest love; when we’re telling the truth…when God’s showing His power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honoured; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognised by God…immersed in tears yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all’ (1 Corinthians 6:1-10 TM). That’s called ‘Sticking at it.’
‘The testing of your faith produces endurance.’ James 1:3 NAS