We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.” Romans 5:3-5a
Have you ever found yourself going through a trial that just seemed to go ON and ON and you found yourself asking God if it was EVER going to end? I’ve been asking the Lord that question lately, wondering if this is something that I’ll have to deal with the rest of my life. In that place, I found myself squirming and resisting what the Lord was allowing. A dear friend reminded me of the peace that comes when we allow patience to weave its’ way around the trial that God, for some reason, is asking us to endure. Somehow the trial seems less painful when we stop squirming and surrender to God’s plan for our lives.
About 2 years ago my husband and I moved, and with all the lifting and moving of boxes, I found myself dealing with a lot of back pain. The physical therapist gave me some resistance bands to use when doing my exercises. Resistance forces us to apply ongoing effort in order to accomplish our goals. If done long enough and often enough, that resistance strengthens us; we learn to endure. This principle works in the spiritual realm as well. Sometimes God is preparing us for something, and we need the strength to stand once we get there. Psalm 144:1 says, “Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” God knows exactly what trial will prepare us for the future, and he caters them to our needs. Sometimes it feels like life is a series of boot camps where we become equipped for the next thing we will walk through. The trials are like resistance bands that the Lord can use as resistance training to make us stronger. The thing about growing in endurance is that it takes time, and that can be SO frustrating. 1 Peter 5:10 assures us, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
The thing about endurance training is that we never know what others are going through. Some people’s resistance bands are bright colors, and it’s apparent to everyone what they are going through. Others have training bands that are barely perceptible because their trial isn’t something they can share openly. So let’s all be patient with one another, slow to make judgments about what others should and shouldn’t be doing. They may be in the heat of some big-time endurance training.