“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. May God, who gives endurance and encouragement, give you ….” Romans 15:4-5a (NIV)
Sometimes life is like that — a time when you need desperately need endurance and encouragement. Maybe you are a mom with small kids, or caring for an elderly parent, or starting a new company, or battling a chronic condition. Sometimes we simply need to cry out to God for endurance and encouragement.
The other day, I was out on a long run. Where I live in the mid-west, there are few hills of substance. Often, instead, there are these long inclines that seem like they might go on forever. Kind of like those seasons in life. Long, drawn out, uphill battles that seem like they may never end. Not dramatically uphill, mind you, where the challenge is glaringly overt. But a slight, subtle incline that wears on you and just continues.
While I was running, I came upon one of those dreaded inclines and was reminded of this verse in Romans 15. And I was reminded that God is a God of endurance and encouragement. He wants to provide that for us. He wants to give us hope. He has provided the Scriptures to teach us and to do just that. He has provided many stories about members of our “cloud of witnesses” to bolster our perseverance. (See Hebrews 11 & May 4, 2014 post.)
So I kept running up that darn incline. And I kept thinking about the saints of old and of their endurance and encouragement. And you know what!? That darn incline did end.