Endurance

Romans 5:3-4 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Pain and suffering. What do those words mean to you? Are you living in fear because of something painful you are experiencing? If not, perhaps someone who’s close to you comes to mind.

En-dur-ance – “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.” ~Dictionary via Google

We recently talked about endurance in a Bible study, and one of the ladies opened up about her pain – emotional and physical pain that just won’t stop. Not long ago, she lost several people who were close to her in a short amount of time. In addition to grieving, she learned that she had a painful disease – one without a cure.

As she fought back her tears, what I read between the lines is that what bothered her most was that she didn’t see an end in sight – her pain will last the rest of her earthly life.

A memory came to mind when I listened to my friend talk about her experience. About 29 years ago, we were getting closer to our 3rd child’s due date. My first two came quickly and a few days early, so I was expecting this one to do the same. Perhaps faster!

To my surprise, labor ended up being totally different the third time around. Oh, he was definitely early – 3 and 1/2 weeks early. However, he definitely wasn’t in a hurry to be born. After walking the halls in the hospital, hoping that would help speed things up, I remember thinking ‘I can’t do this anymore ! – not for this length of time’.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted that baby more than anything, but I didn’t think I had the strength to cope with the pain and the uncertainty. When I finally began having hard labor, I requested an epidural because I was exhausted. Unfortunately, I was told that I couldn’t have one. I don’t recall exactly why, but I think it had something to do with the location of the baby – or something like that. I just wanted to be numb.

When our son finally made his way into this world, we discovered that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Something unexpected, and something that explained why things happened the way they did and maybe why he came early. The pain was worth getting to hold our baby boy.

If you’re struggling with pain – any kind of pain, and don’t see how you can continue because you feel overwhelmed or weak, please know that God will step in and give you what you need so that you can face another day, another hour, another minute. Rather than looking for something to numb your pain, reach out to the Great Physician. He’s just waiting for you to call on His name and trust Him. Step aside, and let Him in.

But Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you gripped with fear? Where is your faith?” Then he stood up and rebuked the storm and said, “Be still!” And instantly it became perfectly calm. The disciples were astonished by this miracle and said to one another, “Who is this Man? Even the wind and waves obey his Word.” Matthew 8:26-27

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