Keep on keeping on

Note from Rebecca Ribnick

I am a millennial. I use my cell phone for everything except making phone calls. I only listen to a voicemail if the text transcription doesn’t make sense. 🤣

However—I am not making this up—I have actually used a rotary phone. Once. At my grandparent’s house.

As tech-driven as much of my life is, I find that no device beats a book printed on paper. I love the tactile experience of holding a book, turning paper pages, and “dialoguing with the author” via my notes in the margin. This love affair with a tangible literary format is especially strong with my Bible. My study Bible is full of color coded highlights, cross-references, dates, and notes.

My notations in my Bible help me track my personal history with God and often serve as the exclamation point to something God is saying. For instance, last week in my quiet time God spoke to me about His great value for endurance and how He has been specifically building that in me and the church. Then, as I opened my Bible to my daily reading, I shouted a loud, “No way!” as I saw Hebrews 10:36 highlighted and dated as something God emphasized to me almost a year ago: “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.”

God is growing endurance in the body of Christ.

Endurance is the trait that keeps us from throwing in the towel when the fight looks lost. We need endurance to hold onto hope when the circumstances around us dictate that the breakthrough isn’t coming, that maybe, just maybe, God’s word will this time return void. It’s what we need when our logical brains and the world around us tell us it’s wiser and safer to downgrade our expectations than to expect God to move in our lives.

We need endurance to keep on keeping on until we receive what was promised.

There are some character traits that are a little more enjoyable to develop than others. For instance, kindness yields immediate returns—smile at someone and there is a very high probability that your smile will be mirrored back to you. Joy is another fun one. But endurance? Who wants to work on endurance?

Endurance training vividly reminds me of the moment during high school basketball practice when our head coach called the assistant coach forward. Whistle in hand, our assistant coach would tell us to line up on the baseline to run sprints. Without fail this came at the end of a hard practice. No one liked running sprints, yet no one complained when we had the stamina to race down the court for a game-winning layup.

Endurance by its very nature requires you to go beyond what’s comfortable or what is assumed possible. Its very definition is, “the ability to withstand hardship or adversity.”1 It is forged after we have given our all, in the place where grit, determination, and heart take over.

For many of us, the last 18 months or so have pushed us to our limits. A global pandemic, rampant fear, ugly political division, all coupled with genuine pain and loss for many of us have come in wave after wave. On top of all of that, there is a looming uncertainty in many areas that once felt so sure.

Yet it’s here in this moment that I believe the Lord wants to speak and impart His grace. Hebrews 10:36 in the Passion Translation reads, “You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you will receive the promise in full.”

This translation emphasizes the Greek word poeima found in “to do God’s will.” Poeima is the word from which we get poem or poetry. In other words, while we often think of endurance as a grit your teeth and push through it, there’s another side to endurance that I believe God wants to highlight: its beauty.

Endurance to believe for the impossible is required for us to possess the promise of heaven coming to earth. The strength growing in us right now will allow us to carry a greater measure of God’s glory than we ever dreamed possible.

Our natural strength and willpower eventually fail, and when they do, we get to encounter a strength that isn’t ours, a grace we didn’t earn. Instead of trying harder, I believe God is inviting us into a deep place of surrender—an endurance of trust. Trust that He is a good Father. Trust that His purposes and plans will come to pass. And trust that it will all work together for a greater good than we ever could imagine.

We need the strength of endurance to reveal His poetry in our lives, the expert knitting of all things for a good we couldn’t otherwise see, a glory we couldn’t otherwise carry. As we surrender afresh our disappointments, our hurts, and pains to Jesus, allow Him to refresh you in the very core of your being with His strength.

In the words of a famous song (written long before I was born): “Don’t stop believing.” In the natural, we can do more than we think. And with our King Jesus, all things truly are possible.

Friends, keep on keeping on. You will receive the promise in full and we will stand back and say, “Wow, it was worth it.”

With joy in Him,