In today’s post on endurance I’m going to cover the beauty of enduring through painful situations with Christ and how He blesses us through that.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
My Dad has been in hospital since last Sunday and, after having an operation last Monday things were looking pretty sketchy for a while. However, tonight we found out that he’ll be coming home tomorrow.
When Jesus died on the cross He didn’t do it so we could have it easy, He did it so we could be forgiven. He did it so we could be set free from the chains of the world. He did it so that when we go through painful, scary experiences we would know that God is with us throughout it, and so that in those painful, scary things we can know that, with Him, we have the strength to carry on.
As Audrey Assad sings, “As I carry this cross, You’ll carry me.”
As Christians we are called to endure in the tough times because that’s what Jesus did. He was constantly doubted and challenged by the Pharisees and Sadducees, He went through viscious and painful beatings and was then forced to carry His own cross (before Simon of Cyrene took over), before being nailed to the cross and experiencing the most painful death known to man.
And this, you see, is why we are called to “rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
In the pain and the brokenness and the anger and frustration, we have Jesus. We have a God who knows the pain that we are dealing with because He has experienced it before. He has been through physical pain, but also the pain of seeing His creation turn their backs on Him, denying that they know Him and condemning Him to death.
There’s a great song by artist Mark Schultz called ‘I Have Been There. The chorus goes a little something like this:
I have been there,
I know what fear is all about,
Yes, I have been there,
I’m standing with you now.
I have been there,
And I came to build a bridge so this road could lead you home,
Oh, I have been there.
We aren’t called to endure for nothing; God has promised us great things for the days when we are with Him for eternity.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
We are promised so much more than this world has to offer, something so much bigger and greater than we can ever imagine or hope for. Even now He has wonderful things for us. He surprises us with beautiful scenery, kind words from friends, sunshine and blue skies, the little things. The great thing about being in relationship with Christ is that you stop caring about the big, grand gestures like money and material possessions. God doesn’t offer us that, and in fact Jesus warns us about storing us treasures on earth, “where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal,” (Matthew 6:19)
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
If we endure here on earth, if we put our hope in Jesus and “store up our treasures in Heaven”, then we will experience the fullness of life in Christ and we will know true joy.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”