Endurance: The Steadfast Heart

What is endurance and what does it have to do with the Christian walk? I use to read verses about remaining steadfast and enduring the race and quickly passed them by. Because to be honest, I couldn’t fathom not enduring or remaining true to the Lord.

We are told countless times in the Scripture to stand firm, to endure and to remain steadfast. So what exactly does this mean. To endure means the ability to bear prolonged suffering, waiting or trials. When I think of someone in the Bible who was steadfast and endured, my immediate thoughts go to Job. Job was an upright man, he walked with the Lord and honored the Lord in everything. So much so, that the Lord asked the enemy one day if he has considered his servant Job. Satan was quick to point out that the only reason Job was so upright was because the Lord’s hand was upon him. The Lord then gave Satan permission to test Job to see if he would remain true. You all know the story, that despite how bad it got, Job remained steadfast in his faith. Even when his own wife told him to “just curse God and die.” Job refused and remained true to the Lord.

Another great example is Paul, for he says in 2 Corinthians 11 “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. I’m sure none of us have been through anything as severe, and yet Paul remained steadfast unto the Lord. Despite how bad it got, he was faithful. That doesn’t mean it was fun. It doesn’t mean that he never questioned God or struggled with doubt or fear. What it does mean though, is that despite his struggles he never gave up on the Lord.

Then there is David. David was anointed king as a young boy. Yet for years this was not a reality. Instead he spent many years on the run from King Saul and his own son. He lived in caves instead of the palace and I’m sure wondered when his time would come. Nevertheless, he trusted in God and endured.

I have thought a lot about these guys lately. See, enduring is not an issue we think of when life is going great. The true test is will we remain steadfast in our faith when life’s problems arise, when things are hard and when we just feel we can’t go on?

How do we then stand firm and remain true to the Lord in the storms of life, in times of waiting, when life is just hard. The truth is we have two options. First, we can give up on God and walk away. We can give into the lies and allow our hearts to grow hard and indifferent. Or, we can keep trusting, keep believing and keep holding on. The first is easy but leads to a path of destruction. The second is hard and it takes faith, it takes prayer and it takes holding fast to God’s Word. Yet, the second leads to life. It leads to joy, that can only be found in His presence. The first dishonors God and proves to the outside world that God isn’t enough. The second pleases God and displays His glory to others looking on.

I’m sure there were many in Job’s, Paul’s, and David’s day who told them they should just give up, just walk away. To just live for themselves. I’m sure there were many who thought they were crazy and mocked them. Yet, we know that the Lord honored them and blessed them because they remained true to Him. They endured to the end.

Life can definitely be hard and the storms will undoubtedly come. The Lord never promised us it would be easy. Yet, He has promised us that He will be with us and that He will never leave us or forsake us. And it is by His strength and through His grace we are able to endure.

 

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