Learning to endure...
At around 11:00 p.m. a Humboldt County, Calif., sheriff’s deputy was responding to an emergency in the rural town of Orleans when something slammed onto the hood of his patrol car, sent the vehicle out of control, off the road to an embankment, which flipped the vehicle over. The SUV burst into flames, but the deputy was able to crawl out without suffering any serious injuries. What in the world hit him? Something had fallen off the embankment: a bear. “No word,” the story concluded, “on the condition of the bear.” ** (see photo)
Pardon my pun, but life occasionally comes out of nowhere and runs you over; it can be unbearable. Fortunately, that deputy was unharmed. Bearing is woven through the New Testament; Paul exhorted Christ-followers in Ephesus and in Colosse to "bear with one another" -- basically to put up with the foibles and eccentricities that are omnipresent in a community. Love covers a multitude of sins, Peter wrote. And we may, or not, develop the quality of endurance, or perseverance...the verb "endure" is used 12 times in the New Testament, the noun endurance 15 times. A few examples:
"By your endurance you will gain your lives..." Jesus in Luke 21:19
"For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised." Hebrews 10:36
"...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" Hebrews 12:1
"if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us." 2 Timothy 2:12
An obvious truth: following Jesus Christ is often difficult, painful, full of hardships, circumstances and difficult relationships to be endured. Living out our identity of "more than conquerors through Jesus Christ" involves enduring, persevering, hanging in there. And yet, the grace and power of the Holy Spirit is available 24/7. We have unlimited access to his presence and power through the blood of Jesus. God allows difficulties, and our enemy attacks, and we often make choices -- all of which present us with opportunities to endure. What are you enduring presently? With whom are you "bearing?" Remember that the grace of God is yours, and power to endure is always at hand. Hanging in there, Perry Floyd