It’s what we do; it’s who we are. Indeed, our willingness and ability to endure is one of the things that makes us Christians:
- “You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
- “…if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12).
- “Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
Endurance is one of the ways our faith is shown to be true and real—the very fact that we are still in the faith, still moving forward, still believing. It is a very true and sobering statement, then, to say it both ways:
Those who endure are Christians. Christians are those who endure.
This is certainly relevant now, when enduring is what we are doing. Not many of us are thriving; not many of us are charging forward; but a great many of us are persevering. We are enduring in the midst of contention, strife, disease, confusion, anxiety, and doubt.
But our endurance, as Christians, is not only for our own sake. We also must endure for the sake of the world around us. Why might that be?
It’s because of the simple fact that what we are collectively experiencing right now, whether Christian or non-Christian, is a great tearing down. It’s a great upheaval of most everything we had previously put our hope and confidence in. One by one, these false gods of security have been toppled.
No longer can we rest in the stability of governments, of health, of a financial system, of an accustomed to way of life. No longer can we count on the security of a well-established routine, the constant presence of distracting entertainment, or of a return to the way things once were. All these and more have fallen before our very eyes. It is, at least for me, the most vivid experience of Psalm 82:5:
“They do not know or understand;
they wander in darkness.
All the foundations of the earth are shaken.”
It certainly feels like the foundations of the earth have been shaken and turned upside down. And as a result, those who have rested their hopes in the foundations of the earth—in all of the man-made stability—are left to question everything. To doubt everything. To re-evaluate everything. And as it happens, they wander around in darkness, not understanding where to turn. This is precisely why Christians must endure.
We must endure so that those who wander in darkness will have somewhere to go.
Here, then, is also the opportunity before us as believers. If we endure, then not only will our faith be shown real and valid; if we endure, then those who wander in darkness will have somewhere to turn. In the rubble of the destroyed sources of security stands the certainty of the Lord God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Here, again, we turn to the psalmist:
“God is our refuge and strength,
a helper who is always found
in times of trouble.
Therefore we will not be afraid,
though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple
into the depths of the seas,
though its water roars and foams
and the mountains quake with its turmoil” (Psalm 46:1-3).
What does the passage say? The earth is trembling? The mountains are toppling? The very foundations of the earth moving? Yes, this is what we see. It’s what we feel. But in the midst of it all, God is our refuge and strength. And He can be the refuge and strength of any who come. As Christians, we hold out this invitation not only with our words, but with our lives which have also been shaken and yet they have not fallen. We have been bruised but not broken. We yet stand on the firm foundation.
Because the foundation endures, we also endure.
Christians must endure. We must endure not only for our own sake but for the sake of the world around us.