Imagine with me…
In a moment’s time, just as much time as it takes to answer the phone, read an email, or slam on the breaks—you find yourself facing devastation and heartache, or what feels like an insurmountable disappointment. Just when you thought things were looking up, just when you were resolved to once again trust, just when you thought you were going to make it…BAM! You’re blindsided. You don’t even know what hit you. God goes from Hero to Zero. From the top of Victory Mountain, you sink into the Pit of Despair. It’s as if nothing good had even happened. No good thing at all.
I know that feeling. I know it pretty well. I might be tempted to say too well, but I know so many who have suffered so much more. As long as there is a pain or heartache of which I can say, “I could never bear it,” I know God has only given me what He knows I can endure.
That leads us to the Word of the Day: endurance. I like it, because it means survival. It means reaching the end. It means God is not denied His glory, and that is the most important thing of all. God must be glorified. Perhaps, not so much in the moments when we are crying ourselves into exhaustion, or on the days we can barely get out of bed. He is not glorified when we dare question His judgment and raise our fists in accusation, “Why me?” No, those are not the moments He is glorified.
However, He is glorified when we get back up. When we forgive one more time. And, then one more time, again. He is glorified by our repentant heart that yields, again, to His will. That is endurance! It doesn’t mean we finished first, or even in one piece. It just means we made it to the end.
This is what I think our endurance looks like to God:
Whatever we may be facing, whatever suffering we are enduring, we must remember that God is not judging how we finish. He just wants us to finish! We may be battered and beaten, literally or figuratively, but we must keep going. We must keep believing that God will be there each step of the way. He will help us finish the race. And, in His eyes, every finish is well done.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:3
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21
*I have learned a lot about suffering from Elisabeth Elliot. If you would like to read a wonderful piece she wrote on the subject, please click HERE.