Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
I will always remember being in one of the first small groups that I ever attended and someone asked everyone to pray that she would have patience. Both group leaders immediately were like “No! You should NEVER pray for patience!” Okay, so apparently some Christians think that the word patience is like a curse word. The reason behind that statement is because usually when someone prays for that, their patience will be tested. And in almost 10 years, I have very rarely prayed for patience. I usually pray for strength, or that the waiting wouldn’t be wasted instead.
But this week, another word trumped patience.
Endurance is the new patience. I streamed a conference this past weekend. It was all about endurance, running the race that is before you, and discipleship. It was an amazing conference, and there were a few sessions that I streamed more than once. Mike asked me what I got out of the conference, and I told him that I felt like I was going to need endurance. And when the young woman I mentor and I exchanged prayer requests on Monday I told her that I felt like I needed to pray for endurance because I felt like something was going to be coming at me.
Well… just the next morning I saw something that I wished I hadn’t and I wanted to run. And not run my race, it was more like run away from my race. And as the week went on, and got flipped upside down and backwards, the hits kept coming at me and I have kept wanting to run the opposite direction. I try to be one who keeps my commitments, but this week I have wanted to walk right away from the commitments I have made, and I have wanted to put unrealistic boundaries in place to protect myself from everything coming at me.
You have had those weeks right? I am sure you have, because I texted one of my friends asking her how her endurance was going this week and she said “empty”. We can’t be the only ones who have endurance issues!
Why should we endure?
So what is the point of enduring when you feel like you are running on fumes?
Because even though sometimes you may feel like you are running on fumes and maybe feel like you are in chains, the truth is that His word can not be chained (2 Timothy 2:9). I was blown away by that scripture verse. I had probably read it many times before really seeing it. And I was actually reading another version of scripture that says His word cannot be bound. The Bible I was reading was bound, and as I read that verse I just imagined the binding coming off the edges of the pages, and the pages of Truth being carried throughout the world by the wind til ever ear would hear.
Sometimes the wind would be like a Spring breeze and sometimes it would be like hurricane force winds. Regardless of the condition, His word is not bound, it is not chained, it goes forth. Let that truth sink into your heart for a minute, because it is comforting.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, and because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. 2 Timothy 2:9
His word wasn’t even chained when Jesus died on the cross. The cross was meant to stop Him, yet even death couldn’t chain Him, couldn’t bind Him. Because mountains would move at His gentle whisper, and storms could be tamed at the sound of His voice.
So why should we endure? Because Jesus did. Because even if we are faithless, He is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). Because His word can not be chained, bound or imprisoned.
Yes, another translation uses the word imprisoned instead of chained or bound. And here is my desire. I want to run my race looking to the One whose word is not imprisoned, chained, or binded, yet whose Word breaks the chains of the prisoners and sets the captives free.
Heavenly Father, sometimes it is just hard to endure. Sometimes, we feel like we are on empty and we just want to run the opposite direction from what you have before us, but even when we feel empty Your cup never runs dry. Help us to keep our eyes on You, Jesus. Let us not to the left, the right, or behind, but only at You. Because You are the perfector of our faith. So as we run after you, may we only thirst for You, may You will us with Your living water, and may You help us to endure because You endured. In His precious name. Amen.