ENDURE. WHO ME?
Have you ever had to do something so stinking hard that you wanted to quit? Multiple times? Even when you were nearing the end? Maybe it was a cross country race. Or a diet. Or a paper that had to be written for a massive final exam. We have all had something that seemed impossible to finish at the time.
But then, we look back and are amazed at what was accomplished. That could happen right after the race, but more likely, time has to pass before time softens the memory. In my first affliction, my family participated in a 5-K run that I wanted to run but couldn’t, so they ran it for me. As I watched at the finish line, I saw the marathon runners trickle in. What shocked me was the condition of the runners. Bleeding. Dragging. Sweating. Vomiting. A mess. But, they crossed the finish line. My brother-in-law ran the half marathon, and it took him weeks to regrow the missing toe nails. How come no one ever talks about that stuff? I did not know the consequences of marathon running. But, those who endure to the end know all about it.
I guess it falls under the category of, “As needed to know basis.” Or, "You didn't ask, so I didn't tell." I guess some things are better left on the shelf, but I am the kind of person who likes to know - especially when it comes to physical challenges.
In preparation for this year 2021, I have been in prayer about what the Lord would have for me. What word or words would He want to imprint on me? Well, about 2 months ago, I was so sure that the words were…..TAKE JOY. Oh good. That has a nice little bow wrapped on top. And I even had Scripture to go with it and I found the original poem written by a a monk in the 1500’s that has this phrase in it. I was set.
Until yesterday. Last night actually. We were reading our Bible after midnight to welcome in the new year and a word caught my attention – GATHER. Mmmmm. Maybe God was speaking to me. Maybe I am the one who wanted TAKE JOY, because it was something, well, joyful. It sounds so poetic and attainable. And, frankly, easy. But, gather sounded interesting. I went to bed and when I got up this morning I had a surprise waiting for me. It is not to be TAKE JOY nor is it to be GATHER. Rather it is –
Yes, that’s right. And as I was writing it out in my journal this morning, this verse came flowing out of my pen – Endure hardship with us like a good soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3
After meditating on this word all day, I had to take the time to look it up. And I am so glad that I did because it was confirmed over and over again. Yes, ENDURE is my word for the year.
1). To last, to continue in the same state without perishing. To remain. To abide.
The LORD shall endure forever. Psalm 9:7 KJV
2). To bear. To brook; to suffer without resistance or without yielding. To sustain; to support without breaking or yielding to force or pressure.
Metals endure a certain degree of heat without melting.
3). Bear with patience; to bear without opposition or sinking under the pressure.
Therefore, I endure all things for the elect’s sake. 2 Timothy 2:3 KJV
If ye endure chastening, God dealth with you as sons. Hebrews 12:7 KJV
4). To undergo; to sustain. To continue in.
The above definitions were taken from the Webster’s 1828 dictionary, my go-to for definitions. The ones below are just a regular dictionary:
1. (with object) suffer, (something painful or difficult) patiently.
2. (no object) remain in existence, last.
ORIGIN: from Old French endure and from Latin indurare ‘harden.’
Whew. Now onto the SYNOMYNS: abide, bear, stand, suffer, tolerate. While all these words mean ‘to put up with something trying or painful’ endure implies continuing firm or resolute through trials or difficulties.
The glory of the LORD shall endure forever. The LORD shall rejoice in His works. Psalm 104:31 KJV
But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:13
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions; do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5 KJV
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy. James 5:11 KJV
God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment. 1 Peter 2:19
Noun. The fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.
Adjective. Denoting or relating to a race or other sporting event that takes place over a long distance or otherwise demands great physical stamina.
And SYNOMYNS for endurance – stamina, survival, guts, continuance, resistance, sufferance, fortitude, infirmity, submission, capacity to endure and persistence.
Why, oh why, did I put all of this here? Because for some reason God had me do it. Someone besides myself needs to be encouraged with this word. It is not a bad word. Rather, it is a word full of promise. The LORD endures. And he is calling us to press on –
But I focus on one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14
This verse was written by Paul who endured so much – whether physical suffering or emotional trauma. And yet, he wrote these words through the Holy Spirit because they are the key to complete and utter surrender. Because when we forget, we can go forward and we can press into Jesus and all that He has for us. We can endure in victory. In complete victory because the battle has already been won. I think it’s more of a reminder to ourselves so we don’t get sucked into the quagmire of self-pity and depression. Or, at least it is for me. Maybe it is for you too.
Yes, God is calling me to endure. And yes, Lord, I am up for this. What about you?Because God is with us. We are not alone. God is here today. Tomorrow. And in all the nooks and crannies. Thank You Lord that You are.
As we enter into this new year, may we seek Him in all that He has for us - yes, even in the challenges that we will face, because we know that God is with us. I welcome 2021 because God will be with me every step of the way. Can you say the same?