I have been thinking about endurance, lately. Some situations in my life have caused me to falter and stumble and fall. I don’t want to falter. I don’t want to fall. But there are things that are so big, so dark and threatening and worrisome, that it feels impossible to go on.
I thought I was strong. I am not strong. I am weak. I fall as easily as the next person. Maybe easier. After all, I have watched the goodness of God for 30 years! I should be beyond temptation at this point, right?
My mom used to shake her head and say that we can never, ever relax in our walk with God. “Because”, she said, “when we get old, we get tired, and when we are tired, we just want the easy way out.”
Oh, she was so right. I feel tired. I want the easy way out.
Endurance in the Christian Life
But I made a commitment to God many years ago, that my entire life was His. At the time, I thought I was promising to go to a mission if He sent me, or maybe to do some sort of Christian ministry here. And I had some kind of idea that while it would be hard, it would still be kind of glamorous. You know, slide shows at church and special prayer meetings and donations for the ministry.
Of course, I learned what many thousands of Christians have learned: when you consecrate your entire life to God, it usually is not spotlights and glamor. It is usually doing the hard work of living your daily, boring, life for God – in secret.
So when unpleasant situations come up, when my faith is tested to the limits, when I am so tired from the spiritual battle that I just want to throw in the towel – what then? Do I throw in the towel? Do I complain and seek pity from my friends? Do I sink into despair and depression?
I have considered all of those things, God forbid! But deep in my heart, God remains number one. I can’t forget Him. I can’t walk away from Him. He has bound me with cords that no man can break. I fall, but He lifts me up. I break, but He is always mending. I wallow, but His hands are a strong support.
Using the Sword of the Spirit
My mother used to have me write Bible verses on strips of paper and tape them to the walls in our house, so she could be reminded of God’s Word daily. One of her favorites was Isaiah 40:3
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
That verse came into my mind last week, with a startling new clarity. All my life, I thought it meant that when we get tired, we will fly. And maybe it does mean that. But you know how God uses a familiar passage from Scripture to touch you in a whole new way? That’s what happened when I thought of this verse.
We have eagles where I live – lots of eagles. So I was picturing them soaring in graceful arcs above the prairie, and it hit me: When we are weary, what we need is to mount up on wings like eagles, so we can see our problems with a bird’s eye view, if you will. THEN we will have the strength to run and not grow weary, and walk without fainting.
The flying is us getting a look at our situation from God’s point of view. Because – and I am firmly convinced of this – when we see things from his point of view, we see that it is not hopeless. That this trial will end. That there is a reason for this season in our life. And then, we are able to go on.
Seeing things from God’s point of view
When our kids are small, they don’t understand the concept of “just 5 more miles”. All they know is that they have been in their car seat for hours and hours and they are over it!! If they could just understand that it is almost over! But they can’t see things from our point of view. We are sympathetic, of course, but we wish we could communicate with them that it truly won’t be forever.
Sometimes I wonder if that is how God feels. “Child, it’s almost over! Hang in there!” Well, I like to think that He is patiently comforting me, knowing all things in His loving wisdom, but needing me to just trust Him.
I do trust Him. I want to, anyways. And the best way I’ve found, is to get an eagle’s view. To step back and remember what is truth, what God says in His Word, things I can plant my feet on. Things I can hang on to when I am weary from running. As it says in Ephesians 6:
Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.
If you can’t fight, just stand
We live in an evil world, and our fight is not physical. It is spiritual. Our weapons and armor are righteousness, God’s Word, truth, peace, salvation, the Gospel, prayer, and faith. And sometimes, when we have done all we can, we just need to stand. And to look at things from God’s point of view.