I used to have to think of really sad things in order to shed a tear. I grew up in a very demonstrative, emotional, Pentecostal church. In the altar all the people around me would be weeping, and regardless of the sermon topic, my eyes would be as dry as an old mailbox post! My best tear-jerker as an eight or nine year old was to remember my beloved dog, Suzy, who'd been hit by a car. A simple conjuring up of the day my parents told me she'd been killed and I could squeeze out a few water-works.
But then LIFE happened. An uppercut to the breadbasket, multiple slaps to other cheeks! Add to that a couple stabs in the back region, and good gracious! Now I've had to come up with some clever means to get the flow to cease!
Until this point in my life I did not understand the concept of "endure." I'm not sure I can describe my initial idea of what it meant to endure. Perhaps I thought it was for losers. As if the only people who had enduring to do were ones that had made some really dumb decisions repetitively and now were a public scourge. I honestly am not sure what I thought it meant to endure.
But, honey, I can SURE ENOUGH tell you what it is like now! And CLEARLY it's not limited to losers, because, uh, I am not a loser!
[In my best "preacher voice"]
I shall take my text from Dictionary.com, because nobody can say it better than a legit, acclaimed, accredited dictionary.
It's A Verb
The first thing to comprehend is that "endure" is not a sissy, whipped-pup, loser status. Endure is a verb. A verb means ACTION. If you are in a state of endurance you are working your head off!! You are not still or finished! If you are enduring you are engaged in high action!
To Continue To Exist
The next thing to know about enduring is that it means YOU EXIST, and everybody, be they friend, family, spirit, or foe, knows it! Sometimes when you are enduring, you feel alone. You may feel forgotten about. But I can promise you, the fact that you are enduring means you exist! And there may be enemies who wish you would give in, but you will NOT give in because you EXIST, and you exist because you are enduring!
Suffer Without Yielding
Another thing I have learned about enduring is that you do indeed suffer. But you suffer WITHOUT YIELDING! The most adverse and darkest forces can come against you. You may cry, you may hurt, but you will NOT YIELD! A fetal position may be your prayer posture, but you will not yield! You are enduring!
The reason endurance is so important is because it kills two birds with one stone. It ensures that the right outcome is fulfilled, and it MAKES YOU LASTING! It hardens you. Not in the sense that you become a jerk to the world because you don't care what anybody thinks about you. But it makes you TOUGH! It makes you STRONGER!
Lasting, Recognized Worth
In the midst of the "enduring" process there is absolutely NOTHING that seems worth the blood, sweat, and tears of endurance. But you endure anyway! And the natural result, without you seeking for it, without you demanding it, is that you will have a higher valued life. People who may not even know the story of all you endured will be able to recognize that you made it. The ground that you conquer in the midst of your endurance will ALWAYS be yours! Anything, everything, and anyone of high value endured.
Truth endures. Truth has been rejected and persecuted time and time again, but it endures and its endurance has given it so much power it can set the hardest heart free!
A soldier endures. Soldiers endure separation from family, harsh living conditions, even the risk of death. But they endure and millions of people are free because they carried out the verb!
Oysters endure the irritation of a grain of sand, forcing it into a constant effort of endurance, and a pearl is the result.
And finally, Christ endured. He ENDURED the cross. There is NOTHING to indicate that he enjoyed a single second from the pre-crucifixion beating to hanging nude on a cross. He carried out the action of the word; he endured the cross and despised the shame. And because he endured we have access to freedom from the slavery of sin and death!
So, you may FEEL like a loser when you are forced to endure some things, or when you look around you and nobody seems to understand. When you are in the midst of endurance even the most well-meaning people can seem to add the heaviest weight to our endurance. But the greatest prophets, the holiest men and women in scripture, the most brave, incredible, people ENDURED. And if they would have given up when their friends or families deserted them we wouldn't have the treasures of their testimonies with us today.
YOU can do this! Do not give up!! Hold to God's unchanging hand!! Say like Job, "Though he slay me I will trust him." God has NEVER left anyone unrewarded for enduring all the way through to victory. Because you are still enduring does not mean you are in sin, or a loser, or unloved by God. It means one thing; you are enduring. I don't mean to be cruel here, but, so what?! Lots of us have and are! Cowboy up and finish this out! You are a treasure in the making!
Having done all to stand... STAND!!