Monday, September 20, 2010

Let's talk about endurance. That's what Papa and I were discussing this morning.
Endurance, perseverance, steadfastness. All the same thing.
I understand what it means.
Do I understand the why of it all? No, not the question of why things happen, but of why we should endure.

It is human nature to want to run away. I remember one time when I wanted to run away. It was many years ago, between twenty-five and thirty years ago.
I don't remember the specifics of what was going on in my life, but I remember the desire to flee that came on me very suddenly.
I was coming out of a store and a guy was getting into his pickup truck. He reminded me of the Marlboro man. (Hey, what can I say?)
I had this really strong urge to run up to him, jump into his truck and ask him to take me away.
I didn't, but man I wanted to!

In face of trials it is so easy to feel like escaping from it all. Yet, the best and safest place to be is right where God has you. That is where He will help you persevere in victory.
That's the reason why we should stick it out. He has something good in store. I believe He calls us to not just endure, but to use it to "step up"! Step up to something higher and greater.

In the tenth chapter of Hebrews we read that we have "need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised."
What has been promised? More than I can list here, but at the top of the list is Himself, His Presence. Oh, there is so much that comes with Him. Peace, joy, hope, strength, on and on goes the list.
Actually, He is what is promised! Whether here or in eternity. He is here and wants to reveal Himself more fully. One day we will see Him face to face and that will be glorious! However, He wants us to enjoy our relationship with Him now.
He makes it worth hanging in and on.

"And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking in nothing." (Chapter one of James). When we have Him (Jesus) we have everything.

There is another aspect to endurance. We get to bless others, reach into their lives and bring hope. Brennan Manning comments on this. "If your life or mine were an untarnished success story, an unbroken upward spiral toward holiness, we might never come to understand the human heart."
If we didn't understand the human heart, we would not be able to relate and consequently we couldn't touch lives, not deeply. Others would not be able to relate to us either.

At ACTS 4 I participated in home visits. We would visit clients and potential clients where they lived. This way we could assess their real need and also connect in a more personal way. I did not want these women (predominately) to see me as some nice lady from the suburbs who was lowering myself to do a good deed. No, as we spoke, I would share how I had been a single mom who had been struggling too or how I have four sons who have given me a run for my money. I would see them relax. That would lead into a discussion about being moms and our concerns for our children. Often they would share some of their deepest worries. Why? Because we could relate with each other.

You see, we are all in this together. I thank Papa all the time that He is with me and my family. Then I thank Him for all the dear people He has surrounded us with.
So when I feel like escaping, running away, I have His arms waiting and when I need someone with skin on, I have a choice of many who stand with me and my loved ones.

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