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Day 29: Endurance

Day 29. Endurance

Adapted from James 1. Dear Lord, today I ask for endurance when my faith is tested, knowing that endurance will have its perfect result, that You may find me complete, lacking in nothing for You. If I lack wisdom, please provide me with knowledge of Your ways. If I lack in faith, remove my doubts. If I lack humility, instruct me to be humble. Bless me with perseverance, so that I may receive Your crown of life. I know that every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father, with whom there is no variation or shadow. Help me to be quick to hear, slow to speak and even slower to anger, in all humility to receive Your word implanted in my soul. My desire is to be a doer of Your word, not merely a self-deluded hearer, so that I may receive Your full blessing in my life. I ask all of this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

This morning I am sitting at my desk with a huge pile things I have left undone and really need to address. Endurance is not a word I feel like embracing. Then I read from Richard Rohr’s A Spring Within Us, (p. 158) he says “If you have forgiven yourself for being imperfect and falling, you can now do it for just about everyone else. If you have not done it for yourself, [Rohr is] afraid you will likely pass on your sadness, absurdity, judgment, and futility to others.” He says this is “second half of life work.” Many of the people in our study are “second half of life people.” Rohr’s assumption is that we learn self-forgiveness from the elders in our lives when they model empathy and compassion. I have heard this over and over—but it doesn’t seem to stick. I do not think Rohr is telling us to “goof off” and lower our standards.

Endurance requires humility. It means we take risks that leave us vulnerable; we persevere even at the expense of “looking like a failure.” Today’s prayer asks God to, “Help us to be quick to hear, slow to speak and even slower to anger, in all humility to receive Your word implanted in my soul.” To do this we must pay attention to what God is doing in our lives. The pile on my desk is the personification of my own imperfection. It is easier for me to make excuses about being too busy, but the truth is I just did not want to do it even though I know I should. There, I have said it. So I will forgive myself, and then start praying and acting.

When we admit we are limited and not perfect, however, we can tap into God’s unlimited help, which is always available, and God’s care, which is eternal. Yesterday one of our participants wrote: “we can be comforted knowing that God knows all, and there is a plan in place that I do not need to understand more than accept. Bathe in God’s mercy and love. Trust that He loves me – all of me – warts and all and longs for my personal attention. Makes me laugh to think of all the people in my life from whom I hoped to garner attention. All the time I spent working to engage folks who never really cared about me, and all that time God waited patiently.” I never really thought about my keeping God waiting or how my “people-pleasing” actions kept me from paying attention to God. Will we remember that God’s love is freely given and endures through every trial? Will we remember that God stands ready to hear us and to help?

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