The concluding chapter of The Life You’ve Always Wanted is entitled “A Life of Endurance: The Experience of Suffering”. In that chapter author John Ortberg compares our life journey to running a marathon. Although the initial part of running a marathon is pleasurable, endurance soon takes a great deal of effort and becomes laborious- the runner “hits the wall”. The ultimate test at this point is to keep going. It is here where the marathon is won or lost. The New Testament writers call this ability to finish well endurance or perseverance.
Having experienced a ministry downsizing or position loss we, like Abraham facing the sacrifice of Isaac, know what it’s like to walk in darkness. Pastor Ortberg describes the role of faith in this process:
“Sometimes faith is walking in darkness and simply refusing to quit. Sometimes faith is just hanging on. The character of faith that allows us to be transformed by suffering and darkness is not doubt-free certainty; rather, it is tenacious obedience.”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified . . . for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”-Deuteronomy 31:6