Friday, May 8, 2015

The Paradoxology of Endurance


ENDURANCE can include giving up many times.
In word and deed, actually, I think that that is the very thesis of endurance: the practice of giving up many times, yet to ultimately return once more often.
Endurance is a paradox in practice. The process is not the same as the outcome.
In theory, endurance is the grit that keeps on keeping on. And that’s how we see our path of enduring a groaning path — we only recall the times when we said “Yes!” There were, as a matter of historical fact, almost as many times when we said, “No!” and “I cannot do this!” and “Leave me alone, Lord!” “It’s just too hard!” and “Let me give up.”
We are really very apt to think boldly of our own strength when God’s grace has helped us twofold: 1) we were given strength not of our own; strength from a mystery, and 2) at a later stage, we forgot what we were actually given. And so we take the credit for what God has done.
If we are able to endure it is simply because God helped us take another try at that which we needed to keep trying at. Sometimes we never had the option; we just had to keep at it.
This is a truthful principle:
Endurance, this is true:
To get to breaking point, and there,
Over the cusp and into Despair,
Is the point at which we need to get to.
We achieve nothing of endurance unless we actually break the breach of hope and enter more fully into a suffocating despair; a thing that literally kills our hope at the time. Until we get to the point of giving up we learn nothing and we learn no endurance.
So, giving up is a very important part of the process of curating endurance.
If we don’t ever fall over we never have the opportunity of picking ourselves up again and dusting ourselves off; which is the decision to keep going.
***
By faith we will be made stronger,
If we can just learn to hold on a little longer.
By faith we will be made kinder,
If we can be our own soul’s finder.
By faith we will be made wise,
If we don’t give up in our own demise.
By faith we will be taken deeper,
If we will allow ourselves to be a weeper.
By faith we will be made humble,
If we don’t give up when we stumble.
By faith we will execute courage,
When we don’t get too concerned about demurrage.
By faith we have courage enough to care,
And that’s God’s compassion to share.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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