Bearing up?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What is enduring all about? Is endurance in sorrow, pain and hardship a curse or a blessing? Does God ordain these things, or are they the result of Satan’s predations? What is really in the balance when we are able to endure, bear up when others may falter?

Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner.

In my freshman year at Marquette University I was one of the many hundreds of frosh who so pledged themselves to a fraternity. Mine was a military fraternity: Pershing Rifles. It seemed that if old Sigma Chi did this or that, Pershing Rifles wouldn't to be outdone. It was one of the more dreadful weeks of my life as I found myself abandoned on a dirt road miles from nowhere without flashlight or the amenity of coat or hat. Ultimately I survived the week and "passed through" initiation and became a Pershing Rifle. As I reflect back now, I wonder what drove me to bear the cold, the inconvenience and fear of that week. Was it that I was too proud to quit? Was it that I was too foolish to understand the foolishness of it? Perhaps. However, it was probably something simpler than that; it had everything to do with the wish to be a Pershing Rifle and the ultimate joy that awaited me when that blue and silver ribbon was pinned to my uniform.

Enduring in order to obtain is at the heart of Christian doctrine. In a sense, the silver and blue ribbon I strove to get.

Here's a story: "When Jewish psychiatrist Victor Frankl was arrested by the Nazis in World War II, he was stripped of everything. When he arrived in the German death camp, even his manuscript for he book he was writing, hidden in the lining of his coat, was taken away. Frankl stated: 'I had to undergo and overcome the loss of my spiritual child, my book.' He was still wrestling with the loss a few days later when the Nazis forced the prisoners to give up their clothes. 'I had to surrender my clothes and wear the rags of an inmate who had been executed,' said Frankl. 'Instead of my manuscript, I found in the pocket of the coat a single page containing the Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael (Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one God. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.) How should I have interpreted such a 'coincidence' other than as a challenge to LIVE my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper?' Later, Frankl wrote, 'He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.'" (Unknown)

Sometimes the only way to obtain the joy we're looking for in this life is to be willing to put up with suffering that promises the prize. God uses the tool of suffering to challenge us to live our lives for Him. Like that silver and blue Pershing Rifle's ribbon I so fervently sought, we need to be ready to understand the "why" of the suffering it may take to get there. As we do, the more we will understand the "how." Our joy grows in proportion to the suffering because every day Christ, the perfection of all joy, is revealed more and more in this life. Christ gives us the "why" we need, the silver and blue pledge ribbon, to keep us going. And, someday the pledge of this life will become the badge of the eternal life to follow.

We pray. Father. You stand as the supreme example for us to follow in our human relationships. Even when we have forsaken You and are broken, You continue to forgive us and woo us back to Yourself. You are not a god of retribution but a God of mercy. Even when we listen to the world’s counsel and experience dismal failure You pick up the shattered pieces and still call us Your own. Only a God like You deserves our complete loyalty. As we personally experience Your enduring love when we least deserve it, help us to apply the same kind of enduring love to those who least deserve it from us. Only through Your strength can we do even the impossible. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to ”This Passing Day!”

<> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.

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