Psalm 118, Romans 5:1–5, Hebrews 12:7–13
Patience. The old quip, “don’t pray for patience, for then God will provide circumstances that require it.”
Endurance and patience. One is primarily a verb in scripture (Endure), while the other is a noun. In other words, they are different (scripturally) only in so far as how they are used in language.
In English, endurance if often associated with physical training and stamina. Patience is more often associated with a state of mind. When we endure, however, we are actively withstanding and holding firm.
Both Paul and the author of Hebrews associate enduring with suffering. Paul states that endurance promotes hope, while the author of Hebrews views suffering and discipline.
It often when we endure that we are toned, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual. Physical endurance may be because one is an athlete, or because one has a physical ailment that makes physical activity harder. Mental endurance can be school tests, task focus, or project focus. Spiritual endurance, however, is a little harder to explain, and even harder to live.
For many, spiritual endurance is when the world attacks your faith, or your own inner voice attacks your faith. Spiritual endurance may be praying for years for the salvation of a loved one that appears to be bearing no change. Spiritual endurance may be that you feel disconnected from God, and cannot figure out how to restore things.
Regardless, endurance only shows its worth on the other side of the work.
1) There are many kinds of suffering. What kinds of suffering have you endured? Did it strengthen or weaken your faith? Why?
2) Hope often seems to be the opposite of enduring suffering. Why do you think hope is the spiritual fruit of suffering?
3) How does enduring suffering help build the Very Good Life?