Endurance

Keith Knight 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”  Hebrews 12:1-3

The movie, Unbroken, which chronicles the life of Louis Zamperini, made its debut on Christmas Day 2014.  The late Zamperini, who died in July of 2014 at the age of 97, was an Olympic athlete who survived against enormous odds as a prisoner of war in World War II.  He later became a Christian under the ministry of Billy Graham and influenced countless people through his powerful testimony. The hostile torture he received in a Japanese POW camp for two years was nearly unbearable, but possibly his greatest feat of endurance came after his B-24 crashed in the Pacific. He survived 47 days with another crew member (the third man died) in a life raft adrift on the ocean.  As the movie was being shot, the crew and actors faced plenty of challenges.  To counteract any complaining about inconveniences or problems, the crew and actors adopted the mantra of "47 days."  It helped them to refocus and endure the frustrating challenges so they could tell the story of this man's great endurance.

How do you deal with adversity and overcome challenges that seem insurmountable?
What hardships are you dealing with right now?  Relational?  Financial?  Health?  Job?  Legal?

I’ve often heard it said that we need to look at adversity and challenges as opportunities.  Opportunities that God places directly in our life so that we can grow closer to Him, trust in His perfect will, and strengthen our faith. Adversity and hardships cause believers and non-believers to seek God.  And, as a believer, it’s comforting to know that God is sovereign and is in complete control of every aspect of my life.  Adversity and challenges do not provide an avenue, or justify a complaining spirit, or validate the injustices and inconveniences that happen in life.  Adversity and hardship causes people to evaluate life.  Adversity causes us to surrender our lives to Christ and recognize our dependence upon Him.  And, as we seek God and draw closer to Jesus, we realize our physically weakened condition and the state of brokenness that we’re in.

But, in the midst of adversity, it’s difficult for people to see the big picture; to honor and praise God for who is…Almighty God.  And when discouragement hits home, we need to look to Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.  God has a plan, and we need not fear.  We’re not alone; God is there to help us through the challenges.  God never intended for you to go through hardships alone.  The Christian life involves hard work.  We need to realize that enduring the hardships of life is truly just an exercise of our faith and is the training ground for our Christian maturity.

J. Wilbur Chapman once said, "The rule that governs my life is this: Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it."


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