Endurance

Endurance

God loves me too much to let me stay the same.

-Pastor Jason (from oh so long ago…)

God loves me too much to let me stay the same. God loves me too much to let even a hint of sin remain in me. God loves me so much that He wants to remove every drop of sin standing in the way between Him and me. God loves me so much that He will help me.

Sometimes I feel so helpless to my sin. I look inward and the stubbornness I see there feels impossible to change.

And it is.

It is impossible to change what’s in my heart without the empowering of the Holy Spirit. THE Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the grave.

What an endless, ENORMOUS source of power we have access to! Yet here I am, living as if Jesus is still in the grave and that God does not have the power to save. Oh yes, I believe Him for salvation, but I feel helpless on this earth. Helpless to continue on in old patterns, old ways of thinking and feeling toward persons and situations.

But that makes no sense!! If I believe in God for salvation, a gargantuan feat (seriously… think about it, the salvation of the entire world has been accomplished by God through Jesus!!!), then why can’t I believe in Him for the small, everyday here and now type things?

Studying Joshua, Ruth, and now Samuel/Saul/David has been SO good this year. (Thanks, BSF!)

We often think of these people and these stories at a high level. Of course God helped Israel conquer Jericho! Of course He gave them victory after victory after that in the Promised Land! Of course God hooked Ruth up with the oh-so-quality Boaz! Of course, of course, of course because we’ve seen the big picture, we know what happens in the end.

But when you get down and dirty and into the micro-level details, what you see are real people facing impossible situations.

You see Joshua staring up at the mighty walls of Jericho, battle plans in hand– march your troops around and around the city… wait, that’s the battle plan?? You see Ruth, leaving her homeland, entering Israel as not just a widow, but a foreigner, tying her already dire fate to Naomi, a woman who felt her own fate was so dire she said God was against her and renamed herself “bitter.”

Real people, impossible situations. Yet, they pressed on. Why? Because they knew God and against all odds, they clung to His character and the promises He had given them.

And now here’s me. Looking up at my Goliaths, at my impossible situations. From the sin in my own heart to wondering if certain dreams will ever come to fruition to longing for spiritual children to grow in certain ways or to return to faith… circumstances would tell me these situations are impossible. Give up, give in, walk away, lose faith. But God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And the God of Joshua, of Ruth, of David, He’s the same God that I serve today.

God is a creator. He is an author. And He is writing a big, grand story whose details I can’t always quite see yet.

And the nice thing is, though I might not know all the tiny details or even the ends of my micro-stories, I do know the end of God’s biggest, grandest story. It ends in victory. It ends with God coming through. It ends with Him saving His people. It ends with the whole world knowing how good, how amazing, how wonderful, how powerful, how worthy He is. It ends with my liberation. It ends with Him putting an end to all my earthly struggles and ushering me into eternity in His DIRECT presence. In the end, all this is worth it. There is only rejoicing and gladness that He somehow chose us and chose the costly suffering and pain of the cross to save and show His lovingkindness to us.

As my dear husband wisely advised not too long ago, when we begin to feel burdened and discouraged by ministry or just by living life, the remedy is to dwell on the cross. When we dwell on the cross, the misery Jesus took on Himself, the misery He took us out of, the tremendous power and majesty of God displayed… everything is put into perspective.

So tonight, I am thankful. I may be discouraged in certain ways, but when I look to Jesus, the Gospel, what He has done, I can’t help but be encouraged to press on. To keep contending. To keep fighting. To keep loving. To live a life worthy of Christ’s sufferings. To live life with Heaven in mind.

Endurance.

God, by Your grace, give it to me, give me endurance. I choose to lean in to all You have for me, for I love Your presence and I know that You are worth it!!!

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Quote

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us…

Hebrews 12:1