Hard trials are hardships. Period. Paul encouraged Timothy to endure. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 says, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” Paul not only encouraged him, but he gave him an example of how to endure.
Our example is Jesus. As I thought about this, my mind went back to Isaiah 53:10. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin…” Consider this: Jesus bore every sin of all mankind. Then the wrath of His Father fell on Him, with the penalty of our sin ~ death.
Jesus prayed the prayer of relinquishment in the garden. Matthew 26:39 says, “…O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Verse 42 says, “…O My Father; if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
Jesus faced inexpressible emotional pain, as well as tortuous physical pain. Yet, He yielded everything for us. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.”
This morning the Holy Spirit gave me profound insight. Endurance is not coping, it is thriving! Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before Him. He is always our excellent example. When we make Him our focus we will not shrink back. Hebrews 10:36 says, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God…” Our trials are His divinely orchestrated will. The verse continues, “…you may receive the promise.” Verse 38 says, “Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
What pleased the Father? Jesus embraced the cross. We will thrive in our hardships when we keep His cross before us. James 3:17 says that one part of wisdom from above is the willingness to yield. Romans 6:11 says that we are dead to sin. James 1:21 says to lay aside the passions of our flesh.
Philippians 2:2 says, “Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” To walk in this verse means that we have to relinquish our will, our way, or our opinion. One accord means to have one purpose. Though this is talking about interpersonal relationships, think of it as your thoughts. To thrive in our endurance journey, we need to bring every thought captive. We also need to have one focus ~ the Lord.
Psalm 63:8 Amplified says, “My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Endurance is not drawing back into self-protective coping measures. Nor is it just getting by, existing, or gutting it out. We thrive in our hardship-trials when our gaze is upon the Lord. That is His way to help us relinquish all fleshly pressings. Hebrews 11:27 says of Moses, “…for he never flinched but held staunchly to his purpose and endured steadfastly as one who gazed on Him Who is invisible.”