Friday, December 09, 2016

Advent: Endure

"Endure" seems like such an onerous word. It's like an extra weight in your backpack that you have to carry or a steep hill that you have to race up. "Persevere" sounds so much better. So does "triumph," or "overcome."

"Endure" it is. It's not the end result, but it is the effort that makes that result possible. We may beat depression, recover from an illness, break free of loneliness, and even bounce back from personal and professional setbacks, but first we have to endure them. Even when it's over, you know it's not — not really. Grendel always returns to Heorot, or his mother does. They may be around the next corner, or coming up from behind, but sooner or later we see them, and we must endure them once again. And we may never see some monsters, like poverty or oppression, vanquished in our lifetimes.

It's easier to endure when there's an end in sight; and easier by far when someone has your back. Getting a phone call from a friend with a listening ear, receiving an invite to share a cup of coffee, or sometimes just someone recognizing that you're broken and staying with you a while, can make all the difference between endurance and giving up.

The Christian faith not only asserts that God runs at our side and fights the monsters with us, it also exhorts us to be there for others when they're on their own. Run with them. Protect their flanks. There's no load so heavy that it can't be lightened when others help to carry it.

Copyright © 2016 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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