Enduring to the End
We could barely hold on with the waves crashing over us. No, this was not a shipwreck on a stormy sea. It was a baptism in the ocean at the Feast in Daytona last fall. The other minister, the person to be baptized, and I waded out from the shore. The wind was kicking up the surf. Before we reached a spot where the water was deep enough for a baptism, we had all been knocked down repeatedly. We had to hold tightly to one another's arms to keep standing. This was not just a baptism; it was a lesson in endurance!
Holding on while storms of trial crash over us is the experience of any faithful Christian. All of us are destined for trouble in this life, for as Christ said, "In the world you will have tribulation" (John 16:33). Sometimes it will get intense, like waves knocking us down again and again, because "we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
Of course, we must endure all the things that life throws at us. Even when you are being overwhelmed by one trial after another, you must hold on. For the one "who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 24:13). Sometimes, the blows do not stop, and it may seem almost impossible that you can keep going. That is when you feel the weakest, and that is precisely when you must hold on and keep going. That is when you must believe, even when it seems futile, that God will bring you through your trials. For when you are at your weakest and trusting in God, that is when you are the strongest (2 Corinthians 12:10).
God gave us many examples to follow, ones who endured in hope to the very end. These surround us like "so great a cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1), and they prove by the outcome of their lives that we can also "run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Same verse). So, even when you are getting knocked around by wave after wave of trial, just hold on and believe that God will help you endure. And do "not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:9). Whatever the problem or however unrelenting your troubles may be, you "can do all things through Christ who strengthens" you (Philippians 4:13)!
Keep up your faithful endurance, brethren, even when the waves of trial keep knocking you down. And remember, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12)!