Lessons in Endurance

Some lessons are easier, some lessons are easy, and some lessons are downright hard. As I have spent numerous hours, gas, time, and travel over the past two weeks trying to rescue an injured dog who has still yet to be caught, I saw one of the lessons God was trying to teach me. Perseverance. Patience. Endurance. I endured for a time, but then I found myself falling into everything but perseverance, patience, and endurance.

Soon enough, I cursed aloud, virtually burst into tears, and said aloud, “I quit.” Like a two-year-old having a temper tantrum, I stomped back into the gas station that had been feeding the dog over the past month since she was hit by two different cars, held my tears in, and informed the manager I was headed home. I had flat-out quit. But alas, I was not merely being tested in my level of endurance with trapping a dog I barely knew. I have been getting tested in my endurance in my walk with the Lord overall. And, quite frankly, I have been falling on my face lately – sometimes in repentance, and other times in defeat.

I suppose the real test of endurance is how I respond to my inability to arrive at my intended destination as quickly and well as I would like. If my defeat leads me to repentance, praise the Lord. Then, with His forgiveness and strength, I can stand back up and walk in the direction He calls. If, however, I land on my face in tears of defeat only to stand back up and make the same mistake with no repentance and without seeking His strength, then I am missing the mark all over again. The Lord is not teaching me endurance because He wants to see me fall. He is teaching me perseverance to teach me to garner the victories He has in store for my life, and for His purpose for my life. So how am I faring?

Quite honestly, I am straddling the fence right now. Just this morning, I have fallen over – and again. I hate my behavior. I hate how I acted. I hate my sin. Thank God. At least I am not reveling in it. But the question is, am I staying flat on the ground or standing back up to learn how to endure? Hmm. I wish I could answer quickly. But I cannot. I am exhausted. Tired from pushing myself hard lately, and tired from falling. My spiritual bruises hurt some and the scrapes are still fresh, but something comes to mind as I write this. God loves me too much to let me stay on the ground. He is reaching out His hand to me, with a loving smile on His face, and with His heart wide open to take me back into His embrace.

“Lord,” I tell the Lord in my heart. “Please forgive me for falling into sin. Please forgive me for hurting those around me. Please forgive me for not trusting you. Please forgive me for the thoughts I have allowed into my heart. I do not want to quit, Lord. But I cannot do this in my own strength. The battle is fierce right now, and I know that the battle belongs to you. Please, Lord, here is my hand. Here is my heart. Please cleanse me, and help me up so that I can learn to walk by faith. Lord, I love you with all my heart. I hate that I have sinned, but I know that you are merciful. I receive your mercy and grace right now. I refuse to stay on the ground where Satan will kick me in the face and stomp all over me. Lord, I want to follow you. Teach me how. Fill me with your Holy Spirit once again that I may overflow with your love, mercy and grace, and that I may be strengthened with your power to do what you have called me to do – most importantly to walk in your love. In the precious name of Jesus the love of my life, Amen.”

p.s. Praise the Lord, I have already made plans to drive the two hours back to the gas station in yet another effort to help rescue the injured dog. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that several weeks ago I named her Grace………..

Heb 6:11 KJV  “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 
Heb 6:12  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

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