This is the one word which the Lord is causing to shimmer before my heart and soul as I consider the brand new year before all of us. I love what Hebrews 12:1-2 says about endurance: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” This passage goes on to outline what it means to “run with endurance the race that is set before us“. We are encouraged not to grow weary, and yet to know that endurance through sufferings brings about a “fruit of righteousness”.
There is another passage which spoke to me at the beginning of this year, as it were through a megaphone! It is Romans 5:1-5 which says: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us“. We rejoice in our sufferings? Excuse me, what? Paul goes on to explain that because we know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character which produces hope…and HOPE DOES NOT PUT US TO SHAME…because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us! We can ENDURE our sufferings because God is working through our difficulties to produce something he could not otherwise produce…CHARACTER and HOPE! These are gifts from God that cannot otherwise be deposited in our lives.
No matter how difficult your sufferings become…know this…God wants us to endure…so that He can develop the character of His own Son in us…and so that He can cause HOPE to grow in us…a HOPE that can endure all of life’s sufferings, a HOPE which is meant for heaven! May we all endure sufferings in a way which will bring honor and glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!