Embracing an Enduring Faith
by Pastor Kevin Jensen
Following Jesus faithfully means trusting he will give us the endurance we need to carry on in his name. Let’s admit, life in our modern world rarely allows us the chance to hang out in a quiet garden. Although hopefully, each of us does get the chance to do that from time to time.
But if we are honest, we will admit we all have times in our lives when things get tough, and we get tired. It can be something as simple as unfavorable weather or as troubling as having a motor vehicle accident.
That’s life sometimes. When things just don’t go our way, what do we do? To endure means finding an inner strength to go forward without giving up. Enduring often takes determination. It takes strength of mind to realize that sometimes there is nothing we can do to make things go favorably.
It has been said, “It's not how you start the race but how you finish it.” In order to finish, we must have endurance.
Endurance is our response to the difficult things in life. As followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are called to have a “finisher” mentality. This means having resilience in seeking to grow in our faith, being dedicated to daily prayer and reading of the Bible, and attending weekly worship (yes, if you pay attention to an online service, it does count!).
Endurance is a commitment, not an end-result. We endure throughout a journey, not at the end. Embracing a mindset of endurance can also help us finish strong. Whether you like to climb or not, it is always difficult. For some of us who are advancing in age, just going up a few flights of stairs can give us a serious workout. The problem is, we always have gravity working against us. The same force that keeps our feet on the ground also restrains us in going up.
Sometimes, if we are climbing out in the wild, we hit a loose rock and we lose our footing and slide backward. That’s the basis for the term backslider. When we lose our footing in life and slide away from the walk of faith, we are considered a backslider. We usually see backsliding as something that just happens to us! Is that really it? Maybe there is another way for us to look at this.
In John 17, Jesus prays on the behalf of his disciples and, in extension, for all of us: “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me.” In pondering this prayer Jesus offered on behalf of all believers, we can feel more secure. After all, that prayer is from the Son of God and he speaks it to His, and our, Heavenly Father! So, if you need endurance in your life, ask for it. And if you need something different, don’t be afraid to ask for it either.
Traveling in the way of faith and climbing our emotional and real mountains can be difficult, but it should not worry us. The weather might be harsh and blustery, or sunny and nice, but the love of Jesus will always be with us even when we go over and through the most difficult trials and trails of life!
This article first appeared in Volume 10, click here to download past Volumes.
|Pastor Kevin or PK as he is known locally, is married to another ELCA ordained minister, Pastor Carla Nelson, and they live in Alcester, SD. God has blessed them with two adult children, Samuel and Kendra. PK serves Nathanael Lutheran Church, Alcester, and Hudson Lutheran Church, and is a part-time chaplain at Avera McKennan Hospital.|