‘…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.’ 1 Timothy 6.11
If we are honest, the thought of pursuing endurance is not particularly attractive as it implies keeping going with something for a long time before we see a result. Most of us like to see things happening pretty instantly, whether it is prayers answered, minds changed or weight lost! We can manage to endure a little, but to pursue endurance implies choosing to do it for a sustained period.
At the heart of endurance is a sense of keeping a vision before us, even if we cannot see it being fulfilled. It is actually a calling to be like Jesus. When we look at his life, it can seem as though all his prayers were answered immediately – in fact the word ‘immediately’ occurs frequently in the healing stories of Jesus – but he also knew about endurance. Hebrews 12.2 says: ‘For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross’ – he held on to a vision that helped him to endure the horrors of the crucifixion. What’s more, Jesus is still enduring. In John 17.20, Jesus prayed for us in these words, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one”. When we think about the divisions within the church today we can see that this prayer of Jesus has still not been answered and he is still pursuing endurance about this particular longing. In fact, his endurance has been for over 2000 years – our endurance will hopefully not be for that long!
Are there issues that cause you to struggle? Are there things you wish God would hurry up and do? Keep alive the vision of what he has promised and keep going. To endure is to experience something of what Jesus experiences every day as he looks at his broken church. He certainly knows what you are going through.