Endure Better

New Image“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:36

I remember life in big moments. The moment I went to college. The moment Chad asked me to be his girlfriend. The moment he asked me to be his wife. The moment we heard, “I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Chad Freije.” The moment I took my first (of four) positive pregnancy tests for Eden. The moment she was born. The moment she turned one and I realized life really does speed past. The moment we found out we were pregnant with number two, and the moment Cade was born.

Life is made up of moments. But it’s also made up, in its bulk, of the time in between the moments. Those are the times that really prove us.

The nine months of discomfort and transition and preparation that take place after the moment we saw that test and the moment she was in my arms. The three years of dating and struggling to live in the “present.” Those are happy, worthwhile enduring times. But life also comes with moments of pain and the hours and days and months and even years between the moment of relief. We need endurance then. Not a shabby, Hallmark-card endurance. Something substantial. Something loud. Something strong.

With Jesus, there are a lot of promises that are in that holding pattern for us. A lot of enduring times, and we all are familiar with them. But when I look back on life, I want to know that I did the in-between times with joy, thanksgiving, and hope. I want to not faint, and when I do get exhausted, I want to remember the friend or the prayer or the verse that breathed life back into my body. I want to hope and go on hoping. “For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off,” (Proverbs 23:18).

I’ve been realizing lately how much I hate the enduring part. Its similar to how I feel when I’m working out, I focus on the end. I focus on the goal. I focus on the fact that I have only this many minutes remaining. But I still hate the pain. I wish I endured the pain better. As I’ve gotten more into fitness, I randomly pick up facts here and there, and I am struck at how many parallels there are between our physical and spiritual bodies. When we work out our muscles, we actually break the little muscle fibers inside of them. We break them, and we cause our own bodies pain. But the healing process that comes after that, with the lactic acid rushing in, causes the growth. We get stronger by breaking down our muscles, over and over again. In the spiritual sense, we get stronger when our hearts feel stretched and weighted down and we don’t think we can handle the suspense any longer. Because the Holy Spirit comes in and fills all of those hollows, if we let him, and he builds us back up. He is really good at building us better than we could build ourselves. I discipline my physical body by working it out, and breaking it down so it will build back up. The Lord disciplines us the same way, to make us stronger, sturdier, and more trustworthy.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:11-12

If you’re at a point where you know you’re gritting your teeth, pushing through the pain in endurance, don’t give up. Let me be the voice that tells you, “Keep going, keep trusting, keep hoping, keep reaching out for Abba.” He has never given up on us. Let’s not give up on him.

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