Romans 5: 3Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
My sciatic nerve is damaged. I have had pain every single day for the past eight years and it would be weird if one day the pain was suddenly gone. I have learned to adjust how I sit, stand and move to keep the pain at a tolerable level. My grandfather, on the other hand, burnt his foot because his nerve receptors were destroyed and he didn’t know he had stepped on hot coals. Which would you rather?
Losing Jonathan hurts worse then any other pain I have experienced. I could try to avoid it, many do, or I can allow it to teach me perseverance. Some translations use the word endurance, but I see perseverance as the “Hooah!” of Christian discipleship. Perseverance comes from the gut of our spirit, and is an outward acknowledgment that I hear, understand, and obey the will of the Lord. When I persevere I am allowing God to draw out my character, which makes the impossible possible (hope) and displays God’s glory. At my core is the knowledge that God will not fail me.
Many of us endure trials, but not many allow those sufferings to complete the work in us so that we are not lacking anything (James 1). That is what my suffering has the potential to do. Jonathan death motivates me to speak boldly on the behalf of others, to be aware of depression and suicide in a way that I never have before, and to seek the face of God every day. I know the pain will not always be this severe. But until that moment comes the pain is necessary and teaches me the discipline of perseverance. Hooah!!