HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. —Matthew 24:13
To Grow Bitter Is to Be Beaten
He who is able to endure has learned one secret of the overcoming life. To endure is to bear patiently whatever the revolving years may bring us. It is to accept quietly and cheerfully the intractable elements of life. It is to pass through difficult or tragic hours free from any embittering of spirit, for to grow bitter is always to be beaten. We say “what can’t be cured must be endured”; but that is scarcely the endurance of the Scriptures. Such endurance is a joyless thing. It is forced submission to necessity. The endurance of which the Bible speaks is of a happier character than that; it is a glad and even grateful acquiescence. Paul and Silas, in the prison at Philippi, did not accept things in a joyless way. They were happy; there was a lilt within their hearts; they sang so loudly that the prisoners heard them. And that is the endurance of the Scripture the bearing of things in a happy kind of fashion; an acceptance with the note of triumph in it. Of that gracious and beautiful endurance, the New Testament indicates three sources.
Sources of Endurance: Faith
The first of these is faith —a burning and bright faith within the heart. That is the thought in the apostle’s mind when he tells us to take the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16). A shield is not a weapon of offence. It is different from sword or spear. A shield is a protective bit of armour. It guards the soldier amid blows and buffetings. And Paul means that if we are to be guarded amid the blows and buffetings of life, there must be radiant faith within the heart. If our darker hours have no meaning in them, if they are quite devoid of plan or purpose, if there be nothing in life but accident or chance, the most man can achieve is resignation. But if God is love, and if everything that comes to us arrives in the perfect ordering of the Father, then another attitude becomes possible. He who believes that God is in the difficult circumstance is empowered to endure it. He can say with Christ, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Faith finds the soul of goodness in things evil. Faith is one great secret of endurance.
Sources of Endurance: Love
Then, too, there is love, for love endureth all things (1Corinthians 13:7). Wherever there is love within the heart there is present the power to endure. Think of the mother with her little child. Not long ago she was a restless girl. Now, when her little one is ill, she is beautifully and divinely patient. And this endurance, which is never sullen, but instinctive, and often with a song in it, is like a token of spring and blossoming of love. God is patient, says St. Augustine, because He is eternal. But there is a deeper source of His patience than eternity. He is patient because He loves. He bears with and pardons us a thousand times, and endures our folly and our shames, just because His love endureth all things. Let any man love learning, and what will he not endure in its acquiring? He will scorn delights and live laborious days, and be supremely happy in his travail. Love is one great secret of endurance, and our Lord empowers His children to endure by the new love He kindles in their hearts. He shows them that God is eminently lovable. He reveals the lovable element in man. He sends into their hearts His gracious Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love. What hatred or indifference cannot do, love can do and is doing every day. Love endureth all things.
Sources of Endurance: Vision
Lastly, there is the vision. Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:27). To see the invisible, when skies are dark, is always to have the power to win through. What inspired Robert Milton Cato to endure? It was his vision of an Independent St. Vincent and the Grenadines. What inspired Columbus to endure? It was his vision of a continent ahead. Every inventor, every explorer, every artist wrestling with his dreams, endures as seeing the invisible. Never was there endurance like the Master. It was radiant with peace and joy. It did not falter even in Gethsemane. It was equal to the agony of Calvary. And at the back of it, from first to last, inspiring, animating, and sustaining it, was the unclouded vision of His Father’s face. We too can practice that same presence. We can do it when life is very difficult. We can do it when the way is dark. We can do it when we cannot understand. And, doing it, we come to be so sure that underneath is the everlasting arms, that endurance passes into joy.