We consider blessed those who have persevered.
Years ago, the Seattle Times ran a feature story on a man by the name of Paul Rogers. Paul was 96 years old and got around with a walker. He lived quietly and comfortably in his house in Overland Park, KS.
Seventy years earlier, however, Paul Rogers faced a different reality. Paul found himself in conditions few of us can imagine. He was in a foxhole in Northern Europe with the temperature below freezing, he had no winter clothing, and enemy troops surrounded his company’s position. Random mortar fire rained down on him. And there was little Paul Rogers could do, except endure it. This frigid, nerve-shattering ordeal lasted for 29 days.
When our Lord speaks to us in the Bible about life in this cold and broken world, he understands that much of it comes down to simple endurance. Perhaps it’s a difficult personality at work or a family member who regularly manages to cause pain. Maybe it’s a period of financial stress that never seems to end or chronic poor health, where you can’t remember the last time you woke up feeling well. Perhaps it’s old regrets that insist on coming back to haunt you or old temptations that never tire of tempting you all over again.
The next time you find yourself in a foxhole of trouble that you know you will just have to endure, keep in mind a couple of things. First, keep in mind that there are many others who, no doubt, have had to endure you and your weaknesses from time to time. But most of all, remember Jesus who has endured all things on your behalf.
Where we have stumbled and given in, Jesus did not. Where we surrendered to temptations, Jesus did not. Then he went to the cross. And there he endured the unspeakable to wash us clean forever. He endured all things in our place and prevailed. And now he lives to send us the strength of his Spirit by the power of his gospel. In him, we will prevail.
Lord Jesus, be with me in my foxhole. Comfort me. Give me courage and strength. Keep me warm in your grace. Amen.