Choosing to Endure

Posted on October 25, 2017 by Esther Baumgartner in Healthy Faith.

 

Endurance is an important part of any Christian’s life. To endure is to persist and hold our ground when something stressful or hard comes our way. It means facing hard situations even when they expose our weaknesses. Enduring isn’t dependent on whether hard things come our way—that’s inevitable. The question is when hard things come our way do we endure through them or do we back away?

Case Study: Piano Lessons

One story that came to mind when I was thinking on the importance of endurance came from teaching piano lessons. There was a 2nd grade student who was always tired at the end of the day when he came to his lessons. When I had him learn a new piece I would usually get a response that went something like “I can’t do it. This is too hard for me. I’m just bad at piano.” I would try to help him by saying something like, “Remember before when you thought a piece was too hard for you, but then you played it really well? And if you mess up that’s ok, I’ll help you through it. That’s what lessons are for.”

As his teacher it was easy for me to see that he didn’t need to worry so much about learning the piece. Yes, he was tired and he would still have to work hard at it, but I was there to help him. If he had stopped worrying about it so much and trusted me to help him he would have easily learned the new piece. Not that it would be perfect. He would still make some mistakes, but I was there to help him work through those mistakes.

After one of these lessons I realized how I often react to God in a similar way. When I am presented with a new and hard situation I often worry about it and want to complain about it or run away from it. Like my student I think, “I can’t do it. This is too hard for me. I’m not a good enough Christian.” If only I would stop looking at my strength and my abilities and trust God who is right there with me. Not only is he more than able to help me, he wants to help me (Isaiah 41:10). When I give up and don’t endure, I’m ignoring the living God who cares about me and wants to help me (1 Peter 5:7).

Why is Endurance Important?

Endurance is important for Christians because it shows the world that not only do we know what Christ says, but we believe it’s true even when it is hard. It reminds me of a quote from one of my new favorite authors, Brené Brown. In her book Rising Strong she writes “We move what we are learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.” In other words, the things we know change who we are through what we do. As Christians we can know what God says and we can know things about God, but it’s only through our works, when we choose to endure with Christ, that our faith is shown to be true (James 2:14–20).

Endurance Produces Hope

When we endure and hold on to Christ during hard times, we not only know that God is strong and that he cares for us and loves us, but we experience his presence, his strength and his love for us in a real, personal way. As we endure and follow Christ we learn the strength of the hope we have in Christ. We become unashamed to live out God’s commandments even when the world lives differently. When we endure and trust in Christ through difficult times we show the reality of the hope we have in Christ.

As Romans 5:3–5 says, “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.”

About the author

Esther BaumgartnerI am a natural deep thinker, which means I love reading books, getting away from things to process the week, and when all the little details line up. I also love, running, volleyball, and almost any form of competition, especially if I have a good shot at winning.