Saturday, November 4, 2017

Endurance is easier when we accept life is a test

‘Running the race’ in our occasional backyard

NOBODY really likes the sound of that title, I know. But deeper consideration of this truth evokes the super-conquering hope Paul talked about in Romans 8:37.
And a super-conquering hope empowers the possibility for endurance. Get this right. This is no triumphal prosperity doctrine. This is hope for the white-knuckled ride of life, because life is unliveable without it.
But it’s hard to learn because it’s something we can’t do; we can only allow it its way.
When we reduce life down to how it actually is — the rudiments of reality — we find there’s absolutely no purpose in resenting it. Bitterness is a rabbit warren to nowhere. And life is indisputably packed to the abundance with them. Around every corner there are things to get upset about — (unless we see them as tests that God knows we can overcome).
We only need to think of the absurdity in the following questions: do you have a happy life? Is everything as it should be? Have you reached all your goals? Is your life completely free of anxiety, sadness, fear and loneliness? Do you have enough money? Do you have a perfectly intimate relationship with anyone? With God?
Honesty forces the ‘no’ answer, because none of us are in heaven (yet). Indeed, the very authenticity of reality convinces us there must be a better way of dealing with it. Acceptance is what holds us afloat under all circumstances, whether acceptance is purely aspirational, at one end of the spectrum where grief interrupts unabating, or it’s a lived reality at the other.
Endurance is easier when we accept life is a test. When our expectations are conformed to how reality is, we’re licensed to walk the intrepid journey toward maturity.
We’re blessed when we endure the test. Sounds easy, but surrender is only easy when we let go. Most of us find that hard. To change that, expect life to test you, and accept it when it does, then endurance is easier. And hope abounds in joy despite circumstances.
That’s living the good news. The true effect of the saving grace of Jesus.

None of it is easy. But it is possible. And far easier than the way we’ve tended to live. Still, not easy. But worth the sacrifice of giving it a go! Like when the AA’s say ‘give it a go for three months’ — anyone who does never turns back, because they get to see mountaintop glimpses they would never see otherwise.

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