This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “endure.”
Have you ever been stretched beyond your ability to endure?
Have you ever wondered if you’ll make it?
I think most of us reach that stage at some point. The trials of life just seem too hard and go on for too long and we wonder if we’ll ever make it through.
It’s comforting to know that even the great apostle Paul had those times, and his words have some helpful encouragement to us in those seasons where we’re struggling to endure.
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” (2 Corinthians 1:8 NLT)
First of all, Paul is honest about his struggles. He could have kept up appearances and told the Corinthians about all the amazing things that happened in the province of Asia and how God was working through him, but instead he chooses to be honest about the fact that it was really, really hard. He thinks they “ought to know.”
Because despite the enormity of the challenge, Paul has seen good come out of it.
“As a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10 NLT)
Often it’s those times when we reach the end of ourselves that drive us to God, the times when we can’t endure another moment in our own strength that cause us to seek his.
And as a result, Paul saw God’s power. He has an amazing testimony to share, and it has boosted his confidence in God for the future. I’m sure his hope is that it will boost the Corinthians’ confidence too and help them endure, because one of the most significant ways God can use our troubles is to help others.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT)
Endurance is never going to be easy. We need one another’s comfort and support. We need to help one another endure.
And when we get to the other side, hopefully we’ll see that God has been at work – growing our faith, revealing his power, equipping us to comfort someone else and help them endure.
Hopefully, like Paul, we’ll be glad we endured and grateful that we have a story to share of God’s goodness and faithfulness.