This Hope: Our Endurance

When news of another friend’s loss reaches me, my heart lurches. It aches for the person who now lives without their loved one, who must abandon dreams and change life plans. Then I wonder to God, “How will they ever get through such grief? …How would I?”

It makes me think of a story Beth Moore told years ago about a friend who lost a child. Beth took the same questions to God, asking how do we endure such loss? And God reminded her of the manna that fell each morning for forty years in the wilderness. God sent the Israelites all the manna they would need each day – and grace works the same way. In seasons when we are plodding through pain, God supplies extra grace – enough grace to endure. Enough grace to hope for a day when such anguish no longer exists.

Sometimes, knowing that our suffering matters1 does not seem like enough to push us through, to give us what we need to keep hoping and enduring. And that’s when we have to accept the truth – we cannot produce the will to persevere. Paul David Tripp says our “hope of enduring is not to be found in our character or strength.” Rather, we have to look beyond ourselves to the One who always endures.2 God never grows weak; He is always strong (Isaiah 40:28). He never gives up; He always perseveres (Psalm 62:5-6). In other words, the “God of Endurance” is our source of hope (Romans 5:5 CEB, 5:13 NLT)! And He has given us two valuable assets to help us hang-on in the midst of our misery – the Scriptures and the Spirit (Romans 15:4,13).   

Scriptures of Encouragement

In his first letter, Peter talks a lot about suffering because the audience he wrote to suffered greatly under Nero’s persecution in Rome. He set out to encourage the distressed followers of Christ who had begun to think God had abandoned them.3 And isn’t that what suffering tempts us to do? Doubt. God’s. Presence.

Throughout his letter, Peter’s words are timeless, encouraging everyone to endure the brokenness of the world. But he also speaks truth over our tendency to think we’re alone in our struggles – to believe that no one could ever feel as we do:

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”

1 Peter 4:12 NIV (the 1984 version)

The Good News Translation really pegs it, “as though something unusual were happening to you.” 

It’s one thing to say that suffering is universal; it’s another thing altogether to remember that truth when we are in the middle of the mess. But what Peter wants all believers to grab hold of is that these hard times – the pain, the grief, the exhaustion – they’re not unique to any of us. They really are to be expected – especially by believers. And, that is meant to be encouraging. 

Like the time we took one of our sons for counseling during his turbulent middle school years. I was just sure we had a unique situation that would be unsolvable, not overcomable – and those fears caused me great distress. As though she knew what I was thinking, the counselor pulled me aside after one session and said, “He’s a normal teenage boy. You will get through this.”

Her words poured such relief into my mom-heart. There was hope in knowing we weren’t experiencing anything new. It helped me endure those years with faith that God would continue to equip us with people like this counselor and encourage us with the truth that our struggles are not singular.

Another thing Peter’s letter accomplishes is reframing the trials of this young church. 

First, he promised the trials would not last forever (1 Peter 1:6). Then, he wanted them to know these ordeals would not leave them empty and faithless; rather, they would actually show their faith as genuine (1 Peter 1:7a). In other words God would use the troubles to test and, ultimately, strengthen their faith. Finally, he gave them the promise that there would be rewards for such endurance:

“When your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

1 Peter 1:7b

Like Peter’s letter, all of Scripture is filled with stories and promises, which are included within its pages for the purpose of encouraging God’s people! We can scour the Old Testament to find suffering in abundance. The Israelites’ suffering as slaves in Egypt and Moses’ struggle to get them to the Promised Land show us that with God we can make it (Exodus). The way Job endures his great pain and grief can encourage us to trust God in the same way (Job). Jeremiah is but one prophet called to persevere through great persecution, and he is one who suffered inwardly, as well, as he watched God’s people choose faithlessness over and over. Yet his faith only grew stronger (Jeremiah). The Israelites suffered even as they were allowed to return to Jerusalem after seventy years of exile, but they overcame the obstacles by believing in God’s Word (Ezra/Nehemiah).

And, of course, the New Testament’s four Gospels chronicle the struggles of Jesus and His disciples. From rejection to betrayal to grief, these faithful followers were not immune to suffering. Quite the contrary, Jesus actually tells them to expect trouble – not only because the world is full of it but because they follow Him (John 16:33). However, His very next words, “I have overcome the world,” impart the hope we all need to keep plugging away. 

Jesus, our hope, will get us through. In His Word we find promises that help us persevere.

Spirit of Help and Hope

On the night of His arrest, Jesus breaks all kinds of news to His disciples as they share the Last Supper – He’ll be “going away” but “will be back soon” (14:28); “the prince of this world is coming” but “he has no hold over” Jesus (14:30). Underlying all of this is the news that when He is gone, the Father will send the Holy Spirit (14:16-17,25-26). 

Jesus knows that His followers will need someone to continue to speak truth over them and to advocate for them (14:16-17,26). Four times in this one speech (14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7), Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Helper, the paraklétos – the one to come alongside to advocate and intercede, to comfort and console.

In other words, the Holy Spirit has been given to us – to each and every follower of Christ – as our Helper, the One to come alongside us and continue the work Jesus began.

Friends, when we make the decision to follow Jesus, we are brought into communion with Him – with the Holy Trinity. And it is in that very place of belonging where we find the strength to endure whatever life throws at us. We are never alone! 

The giving of the Spirit was a calculated decision, part of the plan, and is the gift of having Jesus with us every single day. And therein lies our hope – which is why Paul would include a prayer about the power of the Holy Spirit in the conclusion of his passage on persevering through trials:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 5:13 NIV

The Spirit who is our helper is also our hope!

So, as you go about your day – your life – remember Jesus is always, always, always with you because the Spirit is in you. 

  • With the Spirit, you always have a helper. 
  • With the Scriptures, you always have encouragement. 
  • With the pair, you always have what you need to endure the trials that lay like a heavy burden on your shoulders. 

You don’t have to feel the added pressure of coming up with the strength and resolve to “just keep swimming.”4 Instead, you can bear your soul to the One who has come alongside you and trust in the fact that His grace will always be enough. Then, the God of Endurance will be your source of hope.

Friend, because of Jesus, this hope is our endurance. You are going to make it! 

Heavenly Father, our God of Endurance, You never grow tired. Your resolve never waivers. Your strength never fails. And You offer ALL of this to us. You give us rest; You align our wills with yours; and You empower us to endure. So, on this day, we choose to put our hope in You, and we thank You that You renew our strength. Lord Jesus, we are so grateful for the words that You spoke over your disciples on that last night, leaving them as an offering for us today. We desire to be encouraged by your Word, so we ask that You would lead us to the just right passages at the just right moments. And we vow to take those words as truth, clinging to them as lifelines. Holy Spirit, our Helper, thank You for coming alongside us on this journey of persevering and enduring all the trials this life gives. Our faith grows as we put our trust in the fact that You are always with us ready to help us at any moment, at any time. We claim Paul’s prayer as our own, asking that, as our Source of Hope and by your power, You would fill us with peace and joy each time we trust You so that we will overflow with hope! In Jesus’ name, amen.
(inspired by Romans 15:5,13; Isaiah 40:28,31; Matthew 11:28; Luke 22:42; 2 Peter 1:3; Psalm 119:160; John 14:16,26; Romans 15:13)

Resources: I love sharing with you the books, podcasts, articles, and anything else that has inspired, encouraged, or taught me. These are humble offerings with no expectations.

  • 1 – a reference to last week’s blog post
  • 2 – taken from the January 12th devotion in Paul David Tripp’s book, New Morning Mercies^ (many thanks to my friend, Susan, for sharing!)
  • 3 – Women of Faith Study Bible, p.2021
  • 4 – Dory quote from Finding Nemo (hahaha)
  • Did you see my Bonus Post? A few days ago, I wrote an extra, unplanned post about a type of prayer called a lament. If you’re not familiar with lament, read on — because this kind of prayer becomes a vehicle for speaking our truest thoughts and feelings to God with hope. We can get as honest as we want with the God we worship because He’s big enough to handle it and good enough to allow our honesty to shape us for the better.
  • For the curious — here’s an article that further unpacks how the Holy Spirit encourages us, including a great story that illustrates the “coming alongside” idea of paraklétos.
  • Taken from the Bible Study Tools website, here is list of verses to turn to in hard times:
    • Psalm 9:9 – “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
    • Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
    • Psalm 32:7-8 – God is a hiding place. He provides the shelter no one else can.
    • 1 Peter 5:7 – God asks us to give Him everything about which we are anxious, because He cares for us.
    • Romans 8:18 – We can get through anything here in this life because we have glory ahead of us. 
    • 1 Peter 1:6-7 – Our faith is tested so we can grow in Christ and praise Him all the more as He is revealed.
    • Joshua 1:9 – God is always with us, so we are to be strong and courageous. 
    • Philippians 4:19 – God will meet all our needs (remember, He is talking needs, not wants).
    • Romans 8:28 – A very familiar verse to many about how God makes everything work for good for those He has called and who love Him.
    • 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – This passage was written by Paul, who, as we saw, went through some serious hard times. And through it all he kept his faith. In it he says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
  • Our “This Hope” playlist holds so many great songs that are packed with all the truths in this series. When we are in hard seasons, we need encouragement to endure — and songs like these (because they’re saturated with Scripture and inspired by the Spirit) can go a long way to lifting our spirits, readjusting our eyes onto Jesus, and singing the Word over us when we can’t read it for ourselves.

Rhythms we can incorporate into our daily lives to aid us in our dwelling with God, living for Him, and putting our hope in Him:

  • This spring we’re leaning into the rhythm of meditation. Unlike eastern meditation that seeks to empty the mind and self of everything, Christian meditation desires to fill our minds and beings with Christ. SO — each day, to the best of our abilities, let’s meditate on God’s Word, or as my friend JD Walt says, “ruminate on the Word just as a cow ruminates on his cud.” In other words, don’t rush. Read. Pause. Listen. Reread. Pause. Receive. Give space for the Spirit to reveal and enlighten.
    • This week, we can meditate (or ruminate) on Romans 15:13. One verse SO FULL of all the things we long for — joy, peace, trust, and hope!!! Truly, take your time. Come back to it again and again. Sometimes it can be fun to read a verse in multiple translations; however, this verse must be pretty straight forward — they’re all nearly the same. But, here are a few that incorporate a little variety:
      • Aramaic Bible in Plain English — But The God of hope shall fill you with all joy and peace by faith, that you shall superabound in his hope by the power of The Spirit of Holiness.
      • Weymouth New Testament — May God, the giver of hope, fill you with continual joy and peace because you trust in Him–so that you may have abundant hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
      • Good News Translation — May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Finally, as a community, let us not neglect sharing God’s hope with others! Share your God-stories with people around you. Share this site. Share God’s Word. Shine His light of His hope into the world! 

Featured Photo by Jaco Pretorius on Unsplash. Bits and Pieces photo by Aleksandra Sapozhnikova on Unsplash.
^ Affiliate link, with which I may earn a bit. 


Published by Shelley Linn Johnson

Lover of The Word. And words. Cultivator of curiosity about all things Christ. Lifelong learner who likes inviting others along for the journey. Recovering perfectionist who has only recently realized that rhythms are so much better than stress-inducing must-do's.

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