During spin class the instructor reminded us that riding with resistance, which felt like running on the steepest incline, was in fact good for us as we are building our endurance. As I fought to maintain my breath and spin through the burning sensation I was experiencing in my quads and glutes, I considered that word endurance. What does it mean to endure? Webster’s Dictionary defines endurance as, “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way; the capacity of something to last or to withstand wear and tear”. There are also many scriptures throughout the bible that encourage us to endure and persevere. One of my favorites (and one that got me through many a rough patch) is found in James 1:2-4, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing”. The common theme here, being able to withstand a difficult circumstance or activity.
As a long distance runner I spend a lot of time building my endurance. Training to run 10 miles or a half marathon requires a lot of endurance. I learned quickly that it’s not about speed, but can I endure the race to the end. Life is the same way. As children we could not wait until we reached adulthood only to arrive and wish we could go back to being a child. We were moving too quickly. But life isn’t a race. It’s a journey. A process. One that is full of difficult circumstances. On this journey called life we will come against obstacles and challenges that will test our endurance. From the most tragic, to the not so tragic (such as the onset of depression because of menopause) but difficult nonetheless. It’s all a part of the journey. And how we go through is as (if not more) important than how we come out.
James tells us to consider it an opportunity for great joy when troubles come our way. Seems crazy that joy and trouble would be used in the same sentence and even more crazy that I should see my trouble as an opportunity for joy. But when you trust God and have faith that all things are working together for your good, you realize that it’s not crazy at all. Trouble tests our faith. And the bible tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. So it seems only logical that because my desire is to please God then I should consider it great joy when trouble comes my way because my faith is being tested!! My faith is being tested and developed! And when my faith is developed I will be perfect and complete, needing nothing!
My beloved pastor, Dr. Alyn E. Waller, wrote a book titled “Enjoy Your Journey.” This is an awesome reminder for me as I endure challenges on my journey. Trials are sure to come. God never promised me sunshine every day. But through it all, I must maintain an attitude of gratefulness to my God. Through the difficult and challenging times I must continually give God praise. Why? Because God is good…..PERIOD! Not just during the good times. But also in the bad times. God is good! Praise God while going through a difficult time. Trust God to do exactly what he said he will do. And have faith that it all works out for our good!
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
“It Is Well With My Soul” ~ Horatio G. Spafford