It is one thing to see a word such as “endurance” in definition form:

“The fact or power of bearing pain, hardships, etc. The ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions.”

It is another thing to see it in picture form. Here are a few pictures of endurance. Last week Judy and I helped run our local Crimeline annual fund raiser, an 18 hole golf tournament. We had approximately 150 men and women participate in the tournament. It was not a lack of players that was the problem, the problem was the weather!

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For the next 5 hours, it rained and rained and rained. It came down as a light mist, as drizzle, and often as heavy downpours. The wind blew, it was cold to the bone, but these 150 golfers ENDURED until the end, because of their love of golf, and maybe for the lunch we served after.

Here’s another story of endurance for you. Dr. Robertson McQuilkin chose to step down from the presidency of Columbia Bible College and Seminary (now Columbia International University) in 1990 to care full-time for his ailing wife, Muriel. During their 55-year marriage, they raised 6 children and served for 12 years as missionaries in Japan. Both eventually worked at Columbia: Muriel taught and McQuilkin became the president in 1968.

Their love story went national when Muriel developed Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. McQuilkin said, “Muriel seems to be almost happy when with me. And almost never happy when not with me. She seems to feel trapped, becomes very fearful, sometimes almost terror. And when she can’t get to me, there can be anger. She’s in distress.”

Some of his friends advised him to put his wife into an institution. But Dr. McQuilkin chose instead to leave Columbia eight years short of retirement in order to care for her. If you have never read this real life love story, I would encourage you to read the book “A Promise Kept: The Story of an Unforgettable Love.”

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When Dr. McQuilkin was asked why he would make such a sacrifice, he replied: “When the time came, the decision was firm. It took no great calculation. It was a matter of integrity. Had I not promised, 42 years before, ‘in sickness and in health . . . till death do us part?’”

“This was no grim duty to which I stoically resigned, however. It was only fair. She had, after all, cared for me for almost four decades with marvelous devotion; now it was my turn. And such a partner she was! If I took care of her for 40 years, I would never be out of her debt.” Dr. McQuilkin would go on to say, “It’s not that I have to. It’s that I get to.”

Dr. Robertson McQuilkin was willing to endure anything, because it was for his wife Muriel, the love of his life.

Here’s another picture of endurance: On February 13, 2019, fellow retirees Andreas Sarno and Bintang Sirait were arrested on blasphemy charges after giving a Christian booklet to the operator of a coffee cart in a Muslim neighborhood. The two men frequently went together to share the gospel in the different neighborhoods surrounding their city of Jambi, on Sumatra island in Indonesia.

That morning, Andreas and Bintang left their homes around 7 a.m. as usual, and spent a few hours riding their bikes on the streets, handing out Christian booklets and talking to anyone about Jesus Christ who was willing to listen. A group of young radicals approached the two elderly Christian men and began to beat Andreas. The police were called, and they took Andreas and Bintang into custody, both for their own protection and to question them about their activities.

They were held for two days before they were formally arrested, and in March 2019, they were charged with blasphemy. Out of respect for their age, the judge sentenced them to only eight months in prison, rather than the maximum five-year sentence that a blasphemy charge can carry.

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The two men are rejoicing for the opportunity to suffer for Christ. Their only regret, Andreas said, was that he wished for a longer sentence in order to be able to share the gospel with all 1200 inmates in the prison. “We want to introduce them to Jesus Christ,” he said. These two men, at the end of their life, were willing to endure beatings and prison because of their love of the lost.

There is another person that was willing to endure; He was willing to go all in, He was willing to go to hell and back for you. We read about Him… Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

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It is one thing to read the definition of endurance, and it is totally different to see endurance through pictures. Every one of the pictures we saw today, had one thing in common. Each person was willing to endure because of love. This was also true of Jesus… But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

I am not sure what you may be asked to endure but know that you are not alone. There are many Christians before us that have endured terrible things for the people they loved. Jesus endured the sins of the world because He loved us. And because Jesus endured, He knows exactly how we feel when we endure.

May this verse be an encouragement for you as you are enduring, or as God is preparing you to endure… Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

As “they” say, “A Picture Is Worth a 1000 Words” so please watch this video. As you hear the cheering of the crowd, be reminded that God’s people who have gone on before us, are cheering you on to endure. And when you think you cannot endure anymore, may the dad in this video remind you of a Heavenly Father that is not only willing, but is committed and able to get you over the finish line…

Categories: Pastor's Blog