“How do you feel about the end of May?”
This was a question a dear friend asked me when our states both received updated government guidelines about staying home. We are both moms of young children and both wives of pastors navigating exclusively digital ministries. The simple question my friend texted me that day was more encouragement than a question. This question gave us both space to share an answer but also to process shared life experiences in this season.
Endurance in the Face of Adversity
Asking ourselves and one another this kind of question is definitely important. We are all being stretched and refined in different ways right now. I do not know whether you have friends or family who are encouraging you in this season. I hope you do. But I also want to draw back the curtain and remind you that even the best of friends are only capable of encouragement up to a certain point.
If you are enduring this season by hanging on and hoping for someone to reach out to you in all of your moments of need, you will probably end up being disappointed. However, if you are enduring this season by immersing in God’s Word, you will find hope.
Endurance in Romans
The apostle Paul wrote quite a bit about endurance and hope. While he certainly did not write about enduring suffering with yet another Zoom call in mind, he did write about enduring suffering and finding hope in the face of social distancing. He wrote, more often than not, chained in prison where he was isolated from his friends and faith community.
But we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3–5)
Any time we place our hope in other people, we are walking into dangerous territory. While God did create us for relationships, our first relationship of priority is with Him. I think that some of the tension we feel when we are asked to continue social distancing for yet another week comes from this created desire for relationships. It is good to want to be with others and to live life side-by-side, but I am learning that it is best to first place that hope in Christ.
In the Book of Romans, Paul writes:
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (15:4)
Did you catch that? We have hope, in all seasons, sheltered in place or otherwise. Our hope comes through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures.
Endurance in the Word
When you are feeling alone or in need of encouragement, you don’t have to wait for a text to pop up. You don’t need to open up another social media app. You can turn to God’s Word instead, where we find the hope we need to endure in all things.
These lessons of endurance are not easy but we know where to place our hope as we continue to face days socially apart from our communities. Our hope is not found on social media, our friend group, a perfect Facebook avatar, or our favorite meal delivery service. Our hope, while enduring this season, is found in Christ and His Word.
As we face the end of May and look toward continued enduring this summer, let us turn to Scripture together. Over the summer, we are going to go through Scripture using the alphabet as our guide. As I teach Scripture to my own little ones, who are currently toddlers, I find that they are able to connect God’s Word throughout their day better when it is attached to another familiar learning concept.
Each day will feature an activity prompt and verse that has a keyword, person, or concept that matches with a letter of the alphabet. We will spend a couple of days focused on each letter. Use this calendar to help guide your time in God’s Word as you seek hope and encouragement during this season.
Find encouragement through God’s Word with the Everyday Faith Calendar by downloading it below.