They're supposed to be words of comfort, that is, when someone whispers that this too will pass. Whether it is a streak of bad weather, financial crisis, marital upheaval, some debilitating ailment, or being out of sync with the folks in the next pew, our cultural orientation is to offer a good word, provide a positive lift of some kind, or reference the transitory nature of life in general. That the dark cloud hovering over us at any moment will slip past is a truth that can steady us to suck it up for still another little while. Lost in the positive attitude whims is the opportunity to be schooled in endurance, a discipline in short order these days.
The pandemic is one clear example. When this thing landed on us it was one of the unknowns, a new twist on our shrinking world. The wordsmiths and social media gurus gave it momentary sway over our nation and we were comforted by the medical communities assurances that it too would pass. Now, months later, with new strains being predicted and increases in infections we're wondering if in fact this is some kind of new virus that will keep morphing in ever-widening circles. Today we're learning that the transitory nature of the human situation may have some longer lasting effects. Waiting for it to pass may actually be an immature means of standing by while it invades the nation and some people in our inner circle.
Genuine endurance is certainly more than standing tough during difficult times. It is, of course, a strong biblical discipline that positions us to mature and grow while dealing with difficult circumstances. To endure is to know with certainty the hope that will guide us through even the most trying life trials. Underneath the ability to endure are disciplines greater than simply waiting. To endure is to persevere as a result of God's generous and gracious provision. Enduring is reliance on God's direction as our path beyond circumstances. Note two texts about enduring---
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he
will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
James 1: 12, ESV
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. Consider him who endured from sinners
such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Hebrews 12: 1-3, ESV
And, there are dozens more. The two selections, however, remind us that endurance promises God's blessings and is the result of God's provision. The example of Jesus is our beginning and ending point in enduring. We ask, will this Covid pandemic pass? Who knows. Or any other life trial for that matter. But God has equipped his people to endure and receive the blessings which only he can provide. Enduring is standing strong when this too won't pass.