My kids surprise me often with lessons they unknowingly teach me. This week my son has been my teacher. The lesson has been in endurance. He's doing workouts and practices for the tennis team at his high school. These workouts include a good deal of running and leg strengthening exercises. That makes sense to me, you want strong legs and lungs when you are deep in a match with an opponent. My son has not seen the wisdom in this line of thinking. He complains about his legs aching, and the difficulty of the practices. To his credit, he is not giving up, just complaining. He's learning about endurance.
Often we assimilate endurance with physical activity, specifically running. In Hebrews we hear that we are to run the race with endurance. We often explain endurance as continuing until the end; making it to the finish line. This idea connotes the image that if a person just makes it to the end of something, they have endurance.
There has to be more to endurance than just getting to the end of the ordeal. Getting through a difficult task may just take patience. Patience and endurance are not the same thing. Endurance suggests that there is something more. I believe endurance comes with pain. It's not enough to ignore the pain, but true endurance acknowledges the pain, and moves forward anyway.
Hebrews 12:1 says "12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"
The writer of Hebrews puts us in great company within the cloud of witnesses, and suggests that endurance comes with a weight that we need to put off in order to complete the race
One dictionary defines endurance this way, "the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way". This definition coupled with this scripture seems to lend some thought to the idea that endurance comes with some unpleasant or difficult situation that would otherwise put us off our path. Scripture adds to that notion that our sin can be the weight that we need to throw off to run the race with endurance.
Are you in an endurance race right now? Have you thrown off the sin that is weighing you down? As we move toward Easter, spend time in prayer this week and watch your endurance grow.