People can understand the definition in the dictionary, but have no real understanding of the feeling, the emotion, the pain, and the utter hopelessness of seeing no way out of the circumstances they face.
A person in such a circumstance often feels as though they cannot go on. They do not even know HOW to go on. They do not know how to face another day. They often wonder if they WILL even survive to see another day.
In the face of such circumstances, some give up and some refuse to give up. That determined refusal is the "stuff" of true endurance.
If you have never been in such circumstances, then you will never truly understand what it means to
"endure". But if you have "been there", or if you are "there" now, this message is for you.
I understand endurance. It is the only reason I am alive today.
There was a time in my life when, after going through a bitter and painful marital failure, I found myself in circumstances I never would have imagined. My business was gone and I was in financial ruin. I had given up on my call to ministry. I had given up on my future. I had given up on hope. Emotionally, I was a dead man. (Read "You are still that same man!" in the "One Minute Message" archive.
God restored hope to my life again (as you will read in the above referenced message) and brought a wonderful person into my life, but the difficult circumstances were far from over!
The first message of this ministry was sent on October 7, 1998. About two weeks later, I learned of situations which caused me to feel compelled to begin a legal action to bring about a change of custody for my son. It was a long and difficult ordeal, lasting over three years and going to the Supreme Court of my state.
Less than one year later, my wife was diagnosed with cancer and died on Feb. 11, 2001. Also, during this time there was a major career change and a move because of the demands of the care my wife needed.
There were many days when the pain seemed more than I could bear. There were many days -- those
long long days that stretched into weeks, that strecthed into months, that strecthed into years -- when I did not know how to go on. There were many days when I did not know if I would survive another day.
On many of those days, when the circumstances were so difficult, the darkness seemed unending, and the pain unrelenting, I needed something, just one thing, upon which I knew I could depend and that was not subject to external circumstances.
Not knowing if my wife would live or die, if my son was safe or not, if there would be money to pay seemingly insurmountable bills, or if the ministry would (or could) continue, I had to have something upon which I could depend.
Only one thing fit the criteria.
I could not control external circumstances, but I knew that no one or no thing could take my choice from me. I could depend upon that. So, I chose not to quit.
I chose to depend upon the absolute faithfulness of God, the certainty of His unfailing promises, and the immutable fact that He is absolutely good all the time, even if it did not feel so or appear so at the moment.
Those things being true, I then knew that it was inevitable that circumstances would change --
eventually -- if I did not give up, lose hope, or quit believing in Him, because God could not and would not lie or fail.
God had brought me back from being an emotionally dead man. He had given me life once again. I knew what it was like to be dead and not be able to feel anything and have no hope and no future. I refused to go back there again. Even though I was feeling pain every day, I WAS feeling!
I know what it means to "endure". I am still enduring. However long I have to "endure" will not change my decision. I will not quit. God knows that. Satan knows that also, just as he knew it about Job when he said, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him" (Job 13:15).
It is important for you to understand: I do not celebrate the pain. I do not celebrate the suffering. But I do celebrate what I have learned through it and because of it. I celebrate the closer and deeper relationship I have with God today because of it. I would not want to go through those circumstances again, but neither would I undo them today if I could.
If you are in a situation where you must "endure", I encourage you, as one who has "been there", to fix your choice in God. Choose to trust. Choose to "endure". Make your choice firm and determined -- you will not quit. Do not allow circumstances to take your choice from you. It is the only thing that is soverignly yours.
Paul said, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Cor 4:17)
I believe that. I believe it so certainly that I choose to base my life on it.
You can base your life on it also. Choose to believe God's promises, regardless of circumstances. Do not look to your circumstances. Look to God. He will not fail you.
Enduring is not easy, but it is worth it.
G. Randall Vaughn