At some point, we've all thought it, “I'm not going to make it.” Perhaps, it was a moment when you were in dire straits physically. Or, maybe, you just had an inescapable sense of doom. It was almost overwhelming. Every part of you wanted to quit, but you kept pushing. You refused to give in, give out, or give up. You made a decision, “I am going to make it!” And, you endured hardship, pain, betrayal, psychological struggles, and more until you did. Or, at least you have thus far.
As you’ve learned -- or you will come to know on the other side of the full manifestation of your endurance -- God has plans for those that endure. See Matthew 24. He promises, refuse to be overcome by what the enemy throws at you, and in the end, you will be saved. Most likely, trials, struggles, and difficulty fill several chapters of your life, but keep enduring and, for the sake of emphasis, I remind you again — in the end — you will be saved. However, endurance isn't easy. If it were, more people would finish marathons, and fewer gym memberships would get canceled from lack of use. In too many challenging scenarios, more people don’t make it than do. This unfortunate reality is also why the percentage of failed marriages is higher than the rate of marriages that make it “to the end;” “‘til death do they part.”
As a mentoring voice recently reminded me and a room full of other pastors, Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy, and said something none would ever want to hear. It is recorded in 2 Timothy chapter 2, “Endure suffering along with me.” He then shared three variations of endurance in life, “Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.” In delivering these three examples, I believe Paul clarified how the enemy attacks our endurance.
Endurance. Soldiers must display it during gut-wrenching drills and mentally challenging battlefield scenarios. Along the way, distractions will test them, and the ability to endure without succumbing to anything distracting from their focus will determine if the return home is triumphant. The soldier must endure to fulfill his mission.
Endurance. Athletes manage their diets meticulously and train methodically to ensure the manifestation of it in the moments when it is needed most. They must overcome the desire to take an easier path, shortcuts, or any number of things that could provoke them to do something that results in disqualification. The athlete must endure to win her trophy.
Endurance. Farmers do not eat nor feed others without mastering it. Storms, winds, and unexpected challenges will come against his fields, yet they can never yield to the crop-stealing grasp of discouragement. The farmer must endure to reap his harvest.
Which fight to maintain endurance can you most relate to?
The SOLDIER and his DISTRACTION;
The ATHLETE and her DISQUALIFICATION
The FARMER and his DISCOURAGEMENT
Regardless of your battle, you need to know that Paul left Timothy with an incredible promise that was sure to bring completion to his endurance, and it will have the same effect for you, “Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.”
Think. About. What. I. Am. Saying… The Lord will help you!
What a promise. Meditate on it. Dwell on it. Think about it. And be encouraged to endure because the Lord will help you!
Greater things are yet to come in your life, and I invite you to continue to explore these thoughts with me as I share a message from this same verse: You're Going to Make It!