“But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.” Hebrews 10:39 (The Message)
When I used to think about the word endure, I have to admit, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I thought of all these horrible things that I had to do because they were good for me but I had absolutely no desire for: choking down cooked spinach because it’s healthy; exercising for 30 minutes a day, every day; cleaning the house; ____ (you fill in the blank).
However, I attended a women’s conference in September at my church and the word “endure” has become more pleasant. I would even venture to say I’ve changed my perspective about enduring.
Enduring now means pressing in, pushing through, remaining faithful, and obeying one step, one choice, or one decision at a time. It means when God speaks to me and tells me to do something, even when (or maybe especially when) I have that little nagging feeling in the back of my mind that “this assignment is going to be anything but easy,” if I choose to endure, remain faithful and obedient, God will bless that choice. That’s endurance.
Enduring doesn’t have to be painful. It doesn’t have to be torture. It can be choosing every day to ask God to help me in the painful moments so that I can fulfill the assignment He has given me to do, for however long He chooses to keep me in this position.
Think about Noah – he “endured” building an ark year after year because he knew God called him to that assignment in order to replenish the earth – he endured for the greater good and in return, his family was saved from death. Do you think he enjoyed coming home from his day job only to put in hours at his ark assignment? Genesis 6 gives a detailed account of how he was to build the ark and with the dimensions it was, this assignment couldn’t be knocked out in one weekend.
What about Moses? Exodus 2-4 describes how he lived in the desert with his father-in-law and wife for years, before his encounter with God and the burning bush in preparation for his big assignment of leading a bunch of complaining, grumbling people through the desert for another 40 years. I’m thinking the first 40 years were less painful and definitely less noisy for him than the latter 40 years. Yet, he chose to obey because it was his assignment from God and he was used to help lead God’s chosen people out of Egypt into freedom.
Six years ago I surrendered my life to God to use however He chose. Three years ago I began praying specifically for an answer to a prayer that still has not come to fruition. This past September I surrendered my dreams to God (fully this time with no hidden agenda) and asked Him to replace my desires with His dreams.
While on the outside it may look like I’m still “enduring,” my perspective about the journey, the process has changed. I am choosing joy. I am choosing to be faithful. I am choosing to look for and see God in the little and the big. I am choosing to endure because I know, in His time, if I continue to obey, be faithful and endure the circumstances I’m in currently, God will bless that obedience and faithfulness with the fulfillment of His dreams in my life.
Do you think Noah envisioned as a teenager one day God would use him to replenish the world and to save his family by building a giant boat? Do you think Moses, while wandering around in the desert, exiled from Egypt, had any inkling God was using that preparation to save His chosen people from bondage and lead them into freedom? However, God chose to use both of those men to fulfill His dream, one much greater than any they could have thought up.
And, my friends, I’m believing God is going to use this time of preparation I’ve been in to fulfill His dream for my life, no matter how He wants it to look. And what God is willing to do for one of His children, He wants to do for all. Is there a dream you need to give up in order to let God fulfill His dream for your life? Is there something He is calling you to endure in preparation for walking out His dream? If so, I want to encourage you not to give up. We will endure together so we can give Him glory for the answer when He chooses to open the door to His dream for our lives.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018