When I started thinking about this post, I searched my blog looking for the other time I had mentioned this same book in the past.  I was shocked that it it was a year ago to the date – I don’t think I could have done that if I tried!

Joe Thorn’s unique little book, Note to Self, is a bit of a devotional that also has shades of Jesus Calling woven into it.

As I was praying for various people today, God kept bringing to mind the theme of endurance.

Since Thorn’s book has various topics, I found the one entitled “Endure” and am including that here.  It’s based on Colossians 1:11-14.

You will never make it to the end by trying harder but by trusting more.  I know this works against your natural tendency to want to take care of a situation on your own.  You prefer putting your head down, getting to work, and making things happen.  But this is a dangerous approach to following Christ that is sure to lead to a great fall, for faith and perseverance are not simply matters of willpower and determination.  Yes, God calls you to be resolute, but in all that you are called to be and do, you will fail if you are not depending on God for the strength necessary to make it to the end.

It can be so easy – so tempting, really – to want to take control of a situation and bring about the desired results we feel are best.

The more I thought and prayed today, even after reading Thorn’s note, the more I realized that, in one way or another, endurance was an underlying theme in what I was praying for each person or couple or family.

For friends trying to endure while…

…walking through battles with cancer with loved ones

…seeking answers of how to best help and support a child with special needs

…waiting to go pick up their children waiting on the other side of the world

…hoping for a positive pregnancy test and knowing that they’ll soon also be called ‘mom’

…awaiting for answers from medical tests, for a family member to get out of the hospital, or someone close to them to get a much needed transplant

…wondering if they’ll spend every day and night alone, waiting for God to bring the person they’ll spend the rest of their lives with into their life

…trusting God to provide a much needed job, a sale of a house, or financial help into a situation that feels desperate

…depending on God to bring healing, restoration, and transformation to a broken marriage

The list could go on and on, but those were some of themes that God brought up in multiple situations as I prayed.  There is so much about life that is hard and so many people that are hurting.   Yet it’s not our own doing that allows us to make it through, no matter how strong, feisty, persistent, determined, stubborn, or unyielding we may be.

You can endure, but not because you have put long hours training yourself to persevere.  You can endure because your God is a “God of endurance” (Romans 15:5) who is faithful to carry out the good work He has begun in you (Philippians 1:6).  You can persevere to the end because God has delivered you from the domain of darkness and has give you citizenship in the kingdom of His Son.  Your new King and community stand with you so that you are not alone.  To trust God more requires that you recognize your dependence, know His power and purpose, and continue by faith.

While we can try to muster up all our strength and resolve, put up all the fight we may have, it does and always will really coming back to having nothing to do with us and everything to do with God.

No matter what the situation – from the smallest to the most serious – we are able to endure because we have the God of endurance by our side.

No matter the specifics of the hill or valley the people God brought to mind might be encountering in this leg of the marathon of life, it was a reminder to not only pray for endurance, but to pray that the nearness of our God of endurance would be very real in the midst of it.

When I stop and think about it, I suppose that’s about what some of the people close to me are praying for me, too.

I’m glad we have a God of endurance – who knew that life is hard and we would need reminders of that, and of His nearness and presence.