Saturday, 15 October 2011

Enduring Hardship

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with one of the older members at church (actually I go to a church where the average age is 60 and so by older I am talking 75 ish), her name is Mrs S and she is a widower. She was married to her husband for 57 years and he has walked through the door of death and gone home to be with father God.

Mr Sharpe and I talked about marriage and she said something to me, which caused me to ponder. It was so simple but at the same time so profound, it was like a Rhema word moment for me… On the topic of divorce, Mrs S said “the trouble now days is that people are not prepared to endure hardship”… Bang! The fireworks went off as the power of this statement sank into my spirit.

I began to think about our world, society today and peoples drive and desire to have everything instantaneously, the lack of patience never mind asking people to forego something. If money is an obstacle, hey don’t worry, we’ve got this thing called credit or call it what it is ‘DEBT’ (we know how the world is now suffering because of debt). And to be clear, I am not talking about the situation where circumstance leaves you no option but to endure hardship, no; I am talking about the times when you have choices to make and you chose not to fill the immediate desires, or perceived needs against a longer drawn out road of endurance to achieve an expected end - or put another way ‘Not the buy now pay later options of life’.

Marriage; well for years I have heard it said in the churches that the statistics of divorce are on par and in some countries, higher in the church than outside of it and I myself have personal experience of this so is there a lack of endurance in hardship here?

I don’t have all of the answers, just my own opinion (which you can take or leave, but thanks for hearing it out) and it does seem to me that people seem to have lower tolerance levels for enduring difficulties/hardships than in times gone by and sometimes  turn to methods that at times can be self destructive. I am not only talking of physical addictions, but emotional turmoil as well, such as stress depression, anxiety (I’ve been there too) and so on.

So what made you think about this today brother Don? Well I read this short passage of scripture, which seemed to point me back to the original word from Mrs S:

John 12:27 Amplified Bible (AMP)

27Now My soul is troubled and distressed, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour [of trial and agony]? But it was for this very purpose that I have come to this hour [that I might undergo it].

Imagine, well actually you don’t have to imagine as you can actually read about the mental, emotional anguish Jesus had to endure even before He went to the cross, as He prayed from the Garden of Gethsemane in fact in the book of Luke 22 verse 44 we are told:

44And being in an agony [of mind], He prayed [all the] more earnestly and intently, and His sweat became like great [a]clots of blood dropping down upon the ground.

Jesus endured the hardship:

Hebrews 12:2 Amplified Bible (AMP)

2Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

We are rightfully told that tribulation and trails produce patience (James 1) and John 12 vs. 24 & 25 says that a grain of wheat (us) has to fall into the ground and die in order to not abide alone and produce much grain; and so I pray for you, me, us, that we would receive and new outpouring of grace in order to endure the path that leads unto righteousness.

You will obtain the prize if you hold on...

Incidentally, I share this as I lay in my bed, incapacitated by recent knee surgery and having to endure my own form of hardship.

God bless you

The Lord be with you – Immanuel, God with us’

Love Brother Don

1 Thessalonians 5:21 (New Living Translation)
‘but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.’

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