AS YOU ENDURE
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.
Hebrews 12:7 (NIV)
There’s enduring and then there’s enduring. And then, there’s an equal sign between the words endure and discipline. With a nice soft word, hardship, thrown in between.
How did I not see that before? Three very difficult words strung together in a short, succinct fashion.
I’ve endured pain, suffering, affliction, waiting (whether for healing, a terribly long traffic snarl, at an international airport after a very long flight), betrayal, exercise that was excruciatingly hard (yes, I’ve done that). But for some reason I did not equate all of those with discipline. It was rather something to get through to the other side, so as to get on with life.
A BETTER DEFINITION
I am beginning to realize God views endurance, hardships and discipline quite differently than I do. And, I need to get on board with His definition rather than stick to my own as I will not grow if I keep my head in the sand about this.
Could it be because I have not learned this I am still on this merry-go-round with my feet? I want to move on because I am done with this ride – when all the while God is wanting me to learn endurance. Endurance of grand proportions, which is of greater importance than doing something once and quickly moving on.
Endurance takes true grit. Endurance is going beyond current abilities and digging deep into the recesses of the core of who we are. At this point, in many situations, people tend to give up, through in the towel, walk away. It just gets to hard. Whether it is the waiting, the strength needed or the tired body – quitting is a relief.
I will admit I have said, “I quit,” many times, but only to find that I really did not quite do it because I am still here. My feet are still the same, my attitude is still trying to count it all joy and my heart just hurts.
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Hebrews 12:2b (NLT)
Jesus endured, and He endured much more than I could possibly imagine. Shame. Ridicule. Betrayal. Beatings. The Cross. His Father turning His face away.
It hurts to even think about what He went through.
And yet, He is our example. He is my example.
We are called to have the same attitude as Him (Philippians 2:5). How is this possible? How can I joyfully accept hardships, discipline with grace and endure when I am so tired now?
But Jesus can through me. When I allow Him free rein in my life He becomes my Strength and what was once impossible, now becomes possible. When I said nevermore before, now becomes, I am willing, Lord. Before when I couldn’t put one more foot in front of the other, now I can because Jesus is carrying me so I am not doing the walking, it is He.
It comes from surrender. To yield to discipline completely, one has to surrender – surrender of will, time, desires. It is not giving up and giving in as the world dictates it, but rather a dying to self and the flesh and accepting God’s plan and will for our lives.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 (KJV)
I cling to this promise because nights do not stretch on forever, there are mornings. It’s not a cave but a tunnel. It’s not a box canyon but a path.
Joy does indeed come with endurance because Jesus is with us every step of the way and we can hold on to Him and rest in Him. Discipline is not easy but as it is from the loving Father’s hand, it is good.
And that is enough for me. More than good enough for me.
Oh Father, thank You for giving me a better definition of the word endure. I am thankful Your ways are not my ways as You see from the top of the tapestry; I only see and fixate on the strings underneath. You see the whole, I only see what's right in front of me. I endure in faith, accepting Your discipline as a loving tool to draw me close to You. I am thankful for the love You demonstrate even in this - I am Your child. In the Name above all names, Jesus. AMEN