Friday, December 11, 2015

How Strong is Our Endurance?

Gen 5:22  Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Gen 6:9  These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 

Early on in Genesis we are introduced to two men who are said to walk with God.  One of the things I was struck with was the length of time in which they walked with God.  Enoch lived another three hundred years after this was said of him.  It was said of Noah before he started building the ark and it is generally assumed it took him 120 years to complete it and then he lived another 350 years after the flood.

What I find interesting is that when we compare the length of our lives to theirs we live a very few years.  We only have to endure an extremely short amount of time of trials compared to what some of these men had to go through.  For 120 years Noah worked on a boat that made no sense to the people around him and there can be little doubt that he was ridiculed in some way for it.  It was a difficult task and many days he had to have wondered was this really necessary.  He faced all the challenges from within and without that we face today, yet he endured being faithful to the Lord for centuries.

We moderns, though, seem to fall apart at the least thing and have great difficulty patiently enduring trials without complaints, despair, depression, giving up and just general lack of contentment.  This is not to say that there aren’t many examples all around us of faithful endurance, but sometimes our inability to deal with difficulty says a lot about the strength of our faith. 

We go through difficulty that might last for a few weeks or a few months or even for many years and yet we will never have to endure for centuries.  But often it seems that one of our first reactions is why in the world would the Lord cause this to happen and we seem to think we are entitled to have trials pass quickly.  We immediately start praying that the Lord would remove the affliction long before we get to the point of praying that he would give us patience.  I have been impressed with these two men because they were faithful for centuries and I have asked the Lord to give me the same type of faith (patience) to endure for the short time of life I have on earth.

What I don’t want to do is at the first sign of problems just get depressed, sit at home and do nothing.  If I love the Lord and I love the church I will fight to the death to honor him and protect the church.  This takes an endurance that only comes from the Lord.  But we are not without examples in the Scriptures.

Paul said after at most three decades of suffering, 2Ti 4:6  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 2Ti 4:7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2Ti 4:8  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.  I hope that I have the faith to say the same thing after a few months of trials and that I don’t collapse early on.  At the heart of faithfulness is walking with God as we see with Enoch and Noah.  We must make our lives about him and pursue him in his Word or we will not have the faith to endure dark days.

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