I knew that the Bible had a lot to say about endurance by the way God led me to it as my word for 2015. You can read about that here. Still, throughout the year as I've been reading through the Bible with the She Reads Truth 365 Days of Truth reading plan, I've been surprised to stumble onto even more passages about endurance than I first thought. I've found endurance mentioned in the book of Lamentations, in Luke, in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Colossians, Timothy, Hebrews, Peter, James and in Revelation. Finding an emphasis on endurance in the book of Revelation, the last New Testament book I'm reading before year's end, gave me the understanding that patient endurance is essential to our spiritual survival in these tumultuous times that will be getting even more chaotic in the last days.
Truthfully though, the way I've practiced what I called endurance has been all too frequently resentful resignation. When I've come up against a trial, circumstance or relational difficulty I couldn't change, I'd pray, I'd recite scripture, I'd relinquish it to God, but when things didn't change, I'd grit my teeth and endure, while harboring frustration and resentment in my heart. This was especially true if the situation involved another person, who, in my opinion, wasn't cooperating with what needed to happen, with what I perceived as God's plan or purpose, or with how God wanted to change them, (or maybe how I wanted them to change). Mostly, the battle was in my own heart, but I know that my lack of true, godly patient endurance became obvious at times.
I think, for me, it all boils down to a lack of trust in God, a failure to trust that no one or nothing can stop Him from working all things together for good in my life. I know that the caveat of that verse is that God works all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose. It isn't a blanket promise for everyone on planet earth. Individual choice to love God and cooperate with Him is needed. However, I somehow put a mental addendum onto that verse that said that everyone connected to me must do this too. In other words, how was God going to work out everything in my life for good if my husband or kids or my friends or the people in our church, etc. weren't cooperating with Him in a way that affected me in some way? My subconscious thought was that other people could rob me of God's highest and best for my life. In recent weeks, the Lord has been gently correcting that wrong way of thinking, a mindset that I wasn't even fully conscious of having. He's been talking to me about His sovereignty, about His promise to fulfill His purposes in my life, about how patient endurance in trial and suffering is what He went through for me and a part of the life of a Christ follower. I feel like I've failed at patient endurance more than I have succeeded this year, even in superficial things, like messy house renovations, not to mention the more challenging things. So, I've got a lot more learning and growing to do in the area of endurance, especially patient endurance. I'm glad God patiently endures working with me.