When we imagine a picture of endurance we may envision a mountain climber or a triathlete. Those events when one must press-in with extreme efforts. Events in which there’s not an option to stop and take a break. A picture of endurance is illustrated when facing something that causes pain, or suffering, something that is a hardship. The picture of endurance in my mind is the face of my friend who completed her last radiation yesterday. She endured a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation. She has endured a disease while raising her children and continuing her work caring for others as a nurse. She endured with the truest mark of courage-- her gorgeous smile.
I picture our sweet, most often very tiny, NICU babies who endure arterial sticks, chest tubes, intubations, and lumbar punctures. And their parents, who endure the process with feelings of helplessness, wanting desperately to take their place.
I picture family members enduring grief from the death of a loved-one, individuals enduring the loss of their own physical capability, parents enduring the heartache of a rebellious child.
My own memories take me back to being seven. I learned early how to grit my teeth, enduring bandage changes that often required ripping, enduring physical therapy resulting in scars tearing, and enduring the unknown striving to walk again after those scary days when I couldn’t even wiggle my toes.
Picturing the unpleasant and the difficult are natural images when considering endurance. However, do you ever think about love?
We’ve been in the “love” season. There are dinner dates and roses, chocolates and jewelry. Images of happiness, joy, and romancing stir. But endurance? That sounds more like a workout, more like physical training, or a hardship, not love.
Let’s take a look at this very popular verse in the ESV and NLT:
I Corinthians 13:7
ESV- Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
NLT- Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Love is the muscle to our workout. Love is the courage to our battle. Love is the strength to our suffering. Love doesn’t just get us through the bumps in the road; love gets us through the hardships, the storms, the challenges. Love gets us through all things, in every circumstance.
Those relationships that have endured reflect a beautiful picture of love.
And that’s what brings me to the picture I’m closing with. Our long-time precious friend and family photographer, Mallory captured this moment last fall.
It may appear as a simple pose, but those arms wrapped around me are our testimony to love’s endurance.
Love endured early before we were even married when someone made the suggestion to Brandon that he would eventually feel unfilled as a husband because of my scarred body. Love continued with endurance through the changes to our relationship with each little miracle we welcomed into the world. Love endured through our goals of bachelor degrees in engineering and nursing. Love has endured through imperfections of our flesh; baggage, insecurities, hang-ups, shortcomings, and disagreements.
There have been bumps in the road. There have, quite honestly, been complete washouts. There have been disappointments. But our love didn’t merely sound like a sweet story or a convenient option, no it was created. The Lord in all His goodness, in all His holiness, in His perfection took two people without anything to offer and He gave us a gift that He made for us in eternity—a love that’s been fierce, secure, soft, delicate, unique and constant.
His love endured all for all of us to live this life with the power of enduring love.
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