Religion Magazine

Lenten Journey: On Endurance

By Marilyngardner5 @marilyngard
This piece was originally posted in May 2014. What a difficult season that was! Lent represents another type of season and calls for another type of endurance. I'm out of the country just now-but this struck me as an appropriate reminder to my own soul to hold steady and endure. "For the joy set before him, he endured the cross-" 2014 has been a long year.

We returned from an extended trip to India on January 4th. It took me two weeks to regain my equilibrium (meaning-to remember how to do laundry, make lunches and cook supper!) Toward the end of January I came down sick with a twenty-four hour violent flu bug. I had never experienced that before. It was intriguing and it took its toll. That led to a cough that settled and simmered in my soul as well as in my chest. Seven weeks later, one round of antibiotics and another of steroids, I was finally well.

In the midst of that we learned that the landlords at the retreat center we used to run in Varanasi had evicted the current leader. That was devastating and painful. Our whole family grieved it. It was our spot. It was a tethering point in our beloved Asia suddenly severed.

Soon after that dear friends in Pakistan were involved in a tragic road accident. My Auntie was killed as a result. Her daughter sustained serious head injuries. Her granddaughter broke both her legs. Meanwhile my Pakistani Uncle was still battling cancer.

No sooner had the shock of that worn off a little then my father in law was killed in a farming accident.
We remembered him at a memorial service on Tuesday evening. Thursday morning both my parents, visiting from out-of-town for the funeral, took ill. They left on Friday. By Friday evening I had a fever. Our youngest started on Saturday. Two others came down with it on Sunday.

Sunday evening Lowell's brother's father in law also died. More sadness. More grief. Another funeral.

This morning I broke down and cried. It's been a long, dark tunnel. I'm worn thin. And Lowell prayed that we would endure. Honestly endurance is our only option. I see no light at the end of this particular tunnel. There are glimmers of hope but nothing substantive. All we can do is put one foot in front of the other. We keep walking. We are hard pressed. We are squeezed. It's dark and damp where we are just now. I can't see where I'm going.

This morning at the doctor's office I thought about faith and truth and hope. What would it look like to wall paper the inside of the tunnel. I'm not talking about settling in permanently....but since we're going to be here for a time it might help to make the place a little more cheery. What images would I stick on the walls? What verses would I write out in thick black marker? What photographs would I frame?

It's in a tunnel that faith becomes oh-so-practical! There's no faking it now. That's not an option. Truth and hope have to hold strong. They have to work now or I'm done. I'll throw in the towel. What I stick on the walls of the tunnel has to be life-giving and sustaining. It's the reminders I need if I'm going to endure.

I looked up the word, endurance, in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It's "the ability to do something difficult for a long time; the ability to deal with pain or suffering that continues for a long time; the quality of continuing for a long time." Lowell and I have done long-time stuff before. We have some experience at enduring. Perhaps we've grown to possess the "quality of continuing for a long time". The thing with enduring is it's hard. Enduring implies something needs to be endured. It's the difficult, the pain or suffering, the continuing from the definitions that are the kickers. Enduring a picnic or a party aren't as difficult! Enduring hard things, dark seasons, long tunnels -that's the painful part.

When I look up the word endurance in scripture I'm astounded. We are called to endure suffering, temptation, persecution, hostility, testing, trials, unfair treatment. We aren't left to our own devices. We've been equipped to endure: "We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need." (Col 1:11).

But what is the most astounding thing I've discovered in my hunt is what endures even beyond our own calling to endure..... God's love endures forever! His faithful love endures forever. His name, his kingdom, his throne-those all endure too. But over and over, a refrain in the perpetual rhythms of each story, the line is the same, His faithful love endures forever.

Are you stuck in a long dark tunnel too? I'm not naïve enough to think it's just Lowell and I. Our darkest days probably seem grey to others. Cancer, unemployment, broken-hearted children. Tragedy, betrayal, divorce, loneliness, financial despair. These things come along at a merciless pace. They take our breath away. Our spirits lose vitality. Our bodies break down. Whatever we've been asked to endure there is a force that endures longer, stronger, past whatever limited capacities we have. His faithful love endures forever!

I've poured myself a cup of tea. My Christ candle is lit and I've pulled out the glue. I'm sticking that truth up inside the tunnel. I'm writing it out in large cursive letters. It's the one thing I can hold on to right now. His faithful love endures longer than I have to. His love endures. Forever.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • One Week

    Week

    It's been just over a week since we landed in Tashkent. The trip was uneventful, other than William acting like a typical 17-month old baby and keeping... Read more

    7 hours, 17 minutes ago by   Sherwoods
    FAMILY, PARENTING
  • Not Quite Eschatology

    Quite Eschatology

    Realized eschatology, if you’ll pardon my French, is a term that describes the “already/not yet” aspect of the “end of the world. Read more

    8 hours, 15 minutes ago by   Steveawiggins
    POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • 8 Lessons From The Field On Building A Premier Brand

    Lessons From Field Building Premier Brand

    Every new business dreams of becoming the premier brand in their space, like Starbucks is to coffee, and Apple is to consumer electronics, but they have no... Read more

    9 hours, 23 minutes ago by   Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • Superhero Doll Hopes to Help Young Black Girls Beat Low Self Esteem

    Superhero Doll Hopes Help Young Black Girls Beat Self Esteem

    FirstLadyB | B Inspired By Entertainment News Young black girls battling lo... Read more

    11 hours, 32 minutes ago by   Firstladyb
    SPIRITUALITY
  • 5 of the Best Places in Glasgow for Ice Cream

    Best Places Glasgow Cream

    62 total views, 62 views today 5 of the Best Places in Glasgow for Ice Cream Whether it sunny or dull a “pokey hat” will always bring a smile to a face.  Here... Read more

    13 hours, 53 minutes ago by   Emma
    DESTINATIONS, DINING OUT, FOOD & DRINK
  • GoGoHares!

    GoGoHares!

    Following the flight of camp dragons, the parade of vivid jumbos and the troupe of panto gorillas in our midst comes an assortment of big-eared, bright-eyed... Read more

    13 hours, 53 minutes ago by   Jackscott
    DIARIES, EXPAT, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Brew the Perfect Iced Tea by TE-A-ME

    Brew Perfect Iced TE-A-ME

    Be it any season, staying hydrated is important and what better way to do so than by enjoying a nice cold glass of tea. Yes, make your water interesting by... Read more

    14 hours, 5 minutes ago by   Dr.jenifer Sayyed
    LIFESTYLE