Strength To Endure

This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt.  The prompt today is “endure.”

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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.”

Why?

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.

 

 

16 thoughts on “Strength To Endure

  1. We never really know what we are capable of until we have to endure it. A few years back when I was still running regularly, I had participated in a 7.5 mile race, and had no plans to run to train any farther. However, a friend who was training for a half marathon asked me to go out with her for an 8 mile run. I expressed my concerns: I hadn’t run in a while, and I had never run that far. Nevertheless, we went out together. It was a challenge, but we made it. When we got back to the house, I will never forget what she said. “Oh, I miscalculated. We ran about 9 miles.” In the same way, God is able to do so much more than we know if we trust Him and endure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m guessing that the dramatic nature of his conversion helped him endure. He was so certain of who Jesus was and how his life had been changed, I’m sure that would have helped him to keep going when it was hard.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In my early Christian life, I used to think that being “crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure” meant either something was wrong with my faith or I was being punished for something. It’s comforting to know that Paul experienced that same feeling. Those circumstances lead us to stop “relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen! So much THIS: 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.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Flecker called it phantom-pain
    that this ghost-life applies,
    and thus in hope we must remain
    and hold firm to surmise
    that God will give strength to endure,
    that He will be support,
    that trial make soul and body pure,
    immune to the retort
    that comes from those, believing not
    and standing in sin’s way,
    for their words show they have forgot
    the truth of Easter Day,
    that Good Friday’s aching gloom
    will be dispelled by empty Tomb.

    The reference to James Elroy Flecker is from ‘The Gates Of Damascus”:

    And God shall make thy body pure, and give thee knowlede to endure
    This ghost-life’s piercing phantom-pain, and bring thee out to Life again.
    And God shall make thy soul a Glass where eighteen thousand Æons pass.
    And thou shalt see the gleaming Worlds as men see dew upon the grass.

    Liked by 1 person

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