Endurance, or Deliverance?

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“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of [those] who through faith… escaped the edge of the sword” (Heb. 11:32, 34; NKJV).

“Others… were sawn in two… were slain with the sword” (vv. 35, 37).

In reading through Hebrews 11’s famous Hall of Faith, we find these descriptors. On the one hand, some giants of the faith escaped the edge of the sword. That said, other giants of the faith listed here were slain with the sword.

Is this a contradiction? Were some of these faith giants greater than others? Sometimes, we want to put God in easily classified categorical boxes. We want to say, “It’s either one, or the other, God. I would really be glad for a definitive answer from You, please: Does faith mean that we will be freed from difficult, distressing circumstances… or does faith mean that we need to submit to suffering?”

Yes.

He gently explains, it’s not “either/or.” It’s “both/and.” At different moments in our lives, these complementary elements of faith will come into play in varying ways. Many, many times, our faith journey will reflect a combination of the two: both endurance, and deliverance. Ponder on this Scripture:

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace… will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10, ESV).

Just a little aside here. Our concept, and God’s concept, of “a little while” often differ significantly. I, personally, want the suffering to be over yesterday please, how about you? The Father smiles at you and me tenderly. “Peace, child,” He murmurs comfortingly, with all of His love.

This brings to mind a moment I had with God recently while reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to my daughter Anna. I laughed softly to myself when we came to a particular bit of dialogue. It reminded me of so many conversations I have had with Jesus:

Aslan: “Do not look so sad. We shall meet again soon.”

Lucy: “Please, Aslan, what do you call soon?

Aslan: “I call all times soon.”

Yep. This is a delightful portrayal of the Lord’s use of any kind of word that measures time. After all, two millennia ago, He said of His return to earth, “Look, I am coming soon!” (Rev. 22:7, NLT).

So… whether “a little while” means a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or several years… faith means clinging to the promises and faithfulness of God during painful seasons. It means persevering until He restores, confirms, strengthens, and establishes us. And He always will! You and I can deeply depend on that.

“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” (Heb. 10:35, NKJV).

“Patient endurance is what you need now… Then you will receive all that he has promised” (v. 36, NLT).

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Have you experienced both aspects of faith – that which perseveres under trial, and that which delivers you from trial? What do you see as the difference between the two?

 

22 thoughts on “Endurance, or Deliverance?

  1. Yes, we have. The way God explained how He marks time with us is much different than how we mark time. God looks for the character development and maturity in us as progress over time. This progress is built by acts of faith. Many times those acts of faith bring us to places of testing where we must endure suffering in order to be tested and strengthened in our resolve and character. At other times, especially when the enemy pushes too hard God will deliver us from harm in a miraculous way thus undue suffering is averted.

    As long as we remember that God has two main foci in mind when He leads in faith we will do well. The first is that everything He does with us is for relationship sake. If He takes us through trial it is to build up our trust in Him to walk with us through it. This also builds character and maturity. Second, God wants that relationship with us to be between two mature adults, not adult to child. Remember that the Father is always looking for a Bride for His Son. Not a child Bride but a mature adult who functions at the same level of faith and love that He does. This can only come if we share in His sufferings and learn Him through them.

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    1. This is so beautifully explained, Homer. Clearly spoken from many miles of journey with Him! Thank you for the reminder that He will always rescue when the enemy pushes too hard. I like how you put that. Needed to hear it today. Grateful.

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  2. I like Revelation 21:7 in the NASB translation because it uses the word overcome: “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” With God’s help we can overcome the trials in this life that help deepen our faith in God.

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  3. Yes you need both…. Consider this suppose faith just meant that you were delivered from distressing situations? How then could we endure a storm? How could we comfort someone who was struggling. There is great truth to the phrase there is a light you can’t see until you are standing in the dark. Taken from Tauren Wells God’s Not Done With You

    I believe both are necessary to make us like Jesus. As Job said are we only to accept good things from God?

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  4. What a wonderful opportunity to exhibit the gift of his grace in humbly responding with joy to the task he has entrusted us with, at the moment. He was is and ever will be. I pray my response will be to appreciate what is

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  5. I loved the excerpt from “Voyage of the Dawntreader,” one of my favorite books. ❤
    I have been praying for the salvation of a loved one for 46 years now. Yes, it seems like a VERY long time, especially praying daily. But once that person is saved and we enter into eternity, that 46 (or however many) years will seem like the blink of an eye.

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    1. Yes! It really will, won’t it? And what a precious, indescribably reward you will have for your faithfulness in standing for them… plus the greatest reward of all, having them there with you! I love how you said “once that person is saved.” The certainty in that is BEAUTIFUL, and I say YES and AMEN!

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  6. A beautiful thoughtful and well expressed post. Yes indeed what you have written is 100% God Truth. IN fact I believe when Jesus said ALL who follow Me must PICK up their Cross and follow ME. This I have come to accept is indictating that the Way will not always be easy. IN fact ‘dying to self” IS where we will find our greatest Victory and PEACE and JOY.

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    1. Thank you so much for mentioning such a vital aspect of this truth, Faye. And as Paul said, “I die daily.” Every day there is an opportunity to die to ourselves! And every day, opportunity for resurrection life to surge through us in new ways!

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  7. This is such a powerful and positive statement of God’s love for us and his understanding and patience with us his children.
    Our concept of time really doesn’t apply when we place all of our trust in God because even when we are going through the worst of times he is with us and giving us the strength to carry on 🙏🤗

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      1. I am now 56 and have never thought about tattoos until last year and I decided to have a couple done for my birthday last year and 1 of my favourite scriptures is in the book of Psalms 94 v 18, it reads “When I stumbled O Lord, your unfailing love supported me”
        I have been a witness of this many times in my life and I am so eternally grateful for that knowledge and blessings that have been granted unto me 🤗🙏

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