Give thanks to the Lord,
for he is good
and his loyal love endures.
~ 1 Chronicles 16:34 ~
Resiliency, sustaining, holding fast… I was thinking, you can endure and be very bearish about it, or you can endure with patience. I suppose most of us endure with a mixed bag of emotions… some days better than others. And I suppose there are days when we simply do not endure. We cease “to remain.” It may be that on those days, God sends a fellow sojourner to be that tangible source of endurance for us, until we anchor again. Maybe not. Sometimes He means to be enough for us, allowing us to “feel” the depth of that kind of fatigue. Whatever the nuances, it seems God is very compassionate while calling us to higher ground as we “press on toward the upward call.” Suffice it to say, the word endure more than implies the reality of challenge imbedded in the impossible love list.
There are things you and I endure within the sphere of our own life. There are things we endure as we come alongside others in their struggles. There are things we endure as we wait for our Groom to come for us. There is an enduring aspect to the whole of life. It changes. It shifts. It lessens sometime and intensifies at other times. It does not mean there are not bright elements to enduring. In fact scripture uses the same word describing God’s enduring faithfulness, His goodness, His Kingdom, His Word, and of course, His love. Those are our anchors as Children of God. They do not change, ever.
Love endures all things. Like the tree at the top of this post, it’s meant to be reliable in the storms and something you readily find even if you’re grasping in the dark. The older it gets, the more worn it appears. The truth is, it’s strong as ever. Maybe stronger. The roots below the ground provide the stability to withstand the varying extreme weather. The health of the tree directly affects its ability to endure.
As always, God sets the standard and shows us what it looks like to love by enduring all things. It’s one of the main threads of the whole story since we showed up on the planet. And we see clearly, through the first 14 love traits, how He would have us endure.
So, what does the tangible demonstration of Love Endures All Things looks like? The ESV offers 117 passages to help gain insight into the trait. The most compelling word that comes to mind is steadfastness.
People who love by enduring are anchors themselves. They are steady, strong and reliable. They have their footing. They are branches fixed to The Vine and flowing with the nutrients within it. If you grab hold, they will not snap and break. Healthy younger branches bend and sway. The older ones are thicker, able to bear a greater load. They have fruit on their branches that provide, in this case, sustenance to endure. The fruit is meant to be picked and eaten. It’s not for show.
I know who those people are in my life. I know who I gravitate toward when I feel weak. I also know who not to move toward. But do we know whether or not we are that person for others? Are we a destination for those who feel they cannot go on, who are breaking under the weight of their existence?
‘Endure’ is the one word in all the traits that implies longevity. Patience does as well, but it’s not the same. Endurance has a sage, mature, seasoned inference. I understand why of 15 traits, it’s last. This is the characteristic that speaks to the marathon, not the sprint; to the breadth of life, not the moment. To love by enduring all things is to embody the example of Jesus…
“who for the joy
that was set before him