Roman’s 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

If I think of Northway folk, at any one time there are a number of situations people are having to endure which push us to our limit. And then, there are just every day things that are deeply unpleasant but we have to put up with.

Last year I went on a pain management course for people with chronic conditions. Each person had different levels of pain. But the issue was not what pain we had but how we managed it. Even among the men the attitudes varied wildly, from the man who hit the gym without complaint and pushed through, to the one who was frankly terrified of the pain, and who spent three weeks sitting out and talking with the physios about why he couldn’t do any exercise. Guess who benefitted more!

Pain (emotional or physical), is not necessarily our enemy. Neither are we expected to endure the unendurable. God does not take us from a gentle walk to a marathon in one go.

So what do we do? Pray that God would take away the pain we are going through unless He wants to use it for our good. Ask Him to help us know the difference (no point in being a martyr if that’s not His plan). Then, using the Scriptures as a source of hope and strength (see v4), and recognising that Jesus Himself is the source of our hope and strength, ACTUALLY ASK Him for help to endure – a bit at a time, one day at a time, one issue at a time.

The course I went on was not intended to help us get rid of all pain, but to manage it, endure it and not be controlled by it. To LIVE despite it. If the NHS can provide such resources for physical pain, the Lord can certainly give us “abundantly more than we can ask or imagine”. We just have to say “Lord, help me endure”.

I hope I speak from sufficient experience, but each person’s situation is different and I will not be able to fully appreciate what you might be facing today – forgive me if what I have said does not sufficiently help.

PRAYER: Lord, give me Your resources, Your hope and faith in You to endure what I have to face today – even if it is just a tough day at work. Take away anything that is not in Your plan for me. Yet thank You that each bit of suffering, pain, inconvenience or discomfort I face is one more bit of the training You are putting me through to shape and mould me. Help me to truly lean on You. Amen.

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