My stomach didn’t feel right. It wasn’t long afterwards that something I caught or ate fully manifested itself. The worst of it gradually subsided over the next four days. However, new symptoms appeared. I was very hungry. I was tired of being lethargic. I longed for the motivation to accomplish something on my to-do list. I was bored of daytime television. Plain and simple, I was grumpy!
I knew this detour of sickness would be short-lived and minor in the big picture of my life. Why is it so hard to endure when I am in the midst of troubling circumstances? Why do I struggle to gracefully handle a couple of bad days?
I want to be one that rises to the occasion and follows the examples shared in the Bible of how to endure suffering. Jesus knew the depths of suffering, punctuated by separation from His Father, yet never sinned. Once Paul had a personal encounter with Jesus, his life became very messy with opportunities seized to glorify God. Endurance can speak volumes about one’s faith.
Maybe you are like me and still learning how to endure joyfully. God uses our circumstances to remind us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. May the experiences we would rather avoid draw us closer to God’s heart.
The following principles have helped me to strive for endurance with patience and joy.
1) Embrace Suffering:
Or perhaps more aptly described: give into it. There are times when we are to put everything else on hold and focus on the suffering in order to rest and heal.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
2) Make the Most of Suffering
Suffering is oftentimes the best platform to share our faith. People are paying attention to your life and want to know the reason for your hope.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
3) Pace Yourself
Rely on God’s grace for your good and remove your expectations. We are to desire more of God’s agenda and less of ours.
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
4) Reach Out to Others
Ask for prayers. We can’t endure in our own strength as life is too hard. Victory comes through our prayers and the prayers of others.
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. (Exodus 17:11-12)
5) Keep Praising God
Worship fixes our eyes on Him, softens our hearts to receive, and causes joy to well up from deep inside.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
6) Trust God
We don’t have to figure it all out to endure. Rather, we trust that God has it all figured out and is using our circumstances for His good.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20)