The Benefit of Endurance Part 1
The Benefit of Endurance
May you recognize the presence of God so clearly, and His attitude toward you, which you simply endure with patience all that is on your journey towards home.
How do you?
Her words, words of one who endured the greatest of hardships, echo through our souls. Hear them, as reported in an interview with her son.
“Asked by host Maher Fayez what he would say if he were asked to forgive ISIS, he related what his mother said she would do if she saw one of the men who killed her son. “My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [him] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason her son entered the kingdom of heaven.” (1)
There is a lady who knows how to endure, because of her faith in Christ.
Her desire is not revenge, it is not to cause pain, it is to see the mercy of God be revealed as clearly as it was at the cross. A mother of a martyr, inviting her son’s murderer’s to come into her house? An invitation of hospitality that guaranteed them of her love, and that no harm would come to them.
How could she endure the pain, the suffering and relive it with ISIS militants in her home?
She knew the benefit that endurance brings. She could revel in it, knowing the goodness of God. She would have no problems with the words from our epistle today. She would understand well verse 12,
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him!
There is no way to compare the lives we endure to hers. But the testing we endure has the similar out, the similar temptation.
To cry out to God, with pain and doubt, “God, why did You allow this to happen? Why would You allow evil to flourish on this day?”
Hear the words of James again,
13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.
These trials, these temptations to abandon God are not His work. These sins committed against us, as well as the sins we commit, are not His fault, nor His work.
They develop from our own desire, our inability to look past what benefits us and our own. It is easy to see in the violence of groups like ISIS, or the groups in our country who promote death as a solution to inconveniences like pregnancy or old age.
It is that same narcissism, that same self-centeredness that is at the heart of all sin. Whether it be envy, gossip, disobedience and disrespect to parents and authorities or the sexual sins, that seem to head often up such lists.
Sin is sin, whether in thought, word or deed, originates in the desire to serve ourselves, to put ourselves in God’s place. In order to get that which we think we would like, we would have to be in charge. Such is the nature of revenge, which Paul says in Romans 13 belongs to God alone. Desire to make our lives something, to value them, lies at the heart of all sin.
Sin, which takes hold of our life, and snuffs it out. Sin that suffocates us, destroying relationships, eventually crushing us and leaving us in hell.
So where does a lady find the strength to endure, to entrust not only her son to God, but to embrace his killers, with the hope they would see God’s love revealed to them?
Really? His Prized Possession?
it is trusting words like these, “16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
There is our key, understanding that what God does give us is good. Trusting Him to know what is perfect for us, not just for the moment, not just to satisfy a desire, but to give us far more than we could ever desire.
That uneducated Coptic lady, she was able to endure because she knew the good and perfect gift of God, something so incredible, she wanted it even for those who killed her son.
She trusted God, and the answer is how?
She knew His heart, His love, His mercy, from the gift He had given her, of His Son. The Son who would die that we could be born again in baptism. The Son, who was the Word of God made flesh and living with us. A God who comes to people, imperfect, sinful people and transforms them into saints.
Who would become His prized possession.
Think of that – out of all of creation, what God prizes most is His relationship with His people, you and I and those who died, and maybe, those who killed them, who were touched by the faith of martyrs, and those who respond with God’s love.
What an incredible miracle, what a blessing.
This message, like the series that follows, is all about the benefits of endurance. The benefit of endurance is not just our heavenly crowns that God has promised. The benefit of endurance is found in the only way we can find the way to endure.
In being found in Christ, in knowing His forgiving mercy, in knowing His love, in living in the peace of Christ that is yours…..
The benefit of endurance is found in our relationship with Him being revealed. For in Him we live and breath and endure…
- “Brother of slain Coptic Christians thanks ISIS for including …” ttp://christiantoday.com/article/brother.of.slain.coptic.christians.thanks.isis.for.including.their.words.of.faith.in.murder.video/48412.htm_br