Our first discussion date involved the question: “What character quality do you have that God is most pleased about in you?” It didn’t take too much thought on either our behalves. For me, it was my responsible nature that I felt God was most pleased about in me; for Sarah, it was her faithfulness. Until very recently I had not quite connected the character quality of faithfulness with endurance.
At a recent appointment with our obstetrician, Prof. Jan Dickinson, there was an acknowledgement of Sarah’s stoic nature. In being acknowledged in that way – which was a validation of Sarah’s self-concept – there flowed tears from my wife. Isn’t it wonderful when God reveals something to someone else about us that we hold as the truth?
Speaking with my father-in-law as we waited for Chinese takeaway, I remarked about this event, and Sarah’s pain threshold; somewhat resembling her father’s and brother’s. But my father-in-law tweaked my understanding. He said there were two forms of bearing pain: 1) the pain threshold and 2) the ability to endure pain.
Suddenly I made the connection between Sarah’s faithful nature and her ability to endure hardship patiently.
People often ask me how Sarah is coping; I had used the word ‘pragmatic’, and now I know what underpins her pragmatism. She is a faithful person, and, within that virtue, has been blessed with spiritual gift of endurance. Of course, spiritual gifts we cannot claim as anything we can be personally impressed by. A gift is just that; something someone has given us, and in this case, God. So I praise God that my wife bears the gift of patient endurance, for it is a blessed inspiration to me, and it actually makes my life much easier than my life with her could be. My wife is also very humble, so she would hardly endorse this view beyond me and her. There is no glorious satisfaction in her; no swelling pride for that which God alone deserves credit.
God desires deeply that we would nurture this gift of faithful endurance in our grief to reconcile our weakness with his strength; that, somehow, bearing our losses in stoic truth would procure more of God’s blessed gift.
As we sow into the use of a gift, God gives to us better access.
As we endure with purpose beyond our knowledge – a faith beyond the reality of hopelessness – God gives us the ability to endure.
We don’t need to know how to endure to have endurance. All God requires is that we keep stepping forward by faith, step by step. We keep doing that and faithful endurance becomes us.
Step by step,
Hour by hour,
Step by faithfulness,
Get God’s power.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.