EnduranceThis nine-letter word has taken up residence in my mind of late so it appears the Holy Spirit has something to say to me about it. Just maybe there will be a message for you too as you continue reading.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)

It seems this passage, or at least part of it, keeps cropping up in my daily reading lately. When I get to the fourth verse (last sentence), I sometimes break out in song to the tune of the popular song from Disney’s Frozen. (And you thought you were the only one who couldn’t get that song out of your head…not so!)

Let’s back up to the first of those three verses for a moment. Generally that’s the verse that causes me to stumble. When trouble finds us, which is a fairly common occurrence, we are to be joyful. Say what?? I can’t say that my first response to trouble even closely resembles joy. Nor my second or third for that matter. It is helpful to read the next two verses in order to see the bigger picture. Those two verses provide the explanation behind that somewhat odd suggestion in Verse 2.

I came across these words from Philip Yancey this morning when I tripped over this Scripture passage yet again:

“’Rejoicing in suffering’ does not mean Christians should act happy about tragedy and pain when they feel like crying. Such a view distorts honesty and true expression of feelings. Christianity is not phony. The Bible’s spotlight is on the end result, the use God can make of suffering in our lives. Before He can produce that result, however, He first needs our commitment of trust in Him, and the process of giving Him that commitment can be described as rejoicing.”

Has trouble come your way? Are you ready to put your trust in Him? The end result is heavenly!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

As my capacity for physical endurance seems to be diminishing, I find comfort in knowing that a different kind of endurance is emerging.

Let it grow, Let it grow….(sing it)!

No Matter What


In a span of three weeks I had the privilege of awakening to these two equally breathtaking sights that are about as opposite as they come. My husband and I were fortunate to be able to escape Western Pennsylvania winter for a week of respite in Mexico in celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. What a glorious week it was! I found that 75 and sunny suited me quite well in February! One of my favorite parts of the whole trip was sitting on the balcony in the quiet of the morning taking in the sunrise. There’s just something about seeing the sun reflecting off the water that makes me more fully appreciate the magnificent beauty of God’s creation.

This morning was equally beautiful in its own right, most especially because I could view it from inside the walls of my heated home! The sun was present in both of these scenes, but only visible in one of them. The cloud cover was too great this morning to be able to see the sun, yet it was still there.

This makes me think of the storms we encounter in our lives. Sometimes the clouds are so thick that we feel as though the Son isn’t present. We feel separated, yet just like the sun, He’s there.

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NLT)

What a beautiful promise for a believer! He is with us even when, and perhaps most especially when, we don’t sense His presence. When we accept Jesus, Son of God, as Lord and Savior of our lives, the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside us.

“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’ (John 16:12-15 MSG)

Life can be messy, but how comforting it is to know that we have a built-in Friend and Guidance Counselor in the form of the Holy Spirit who will walk with us and lead us through the storms of our lives!

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

The weather forecaster says the sun’ll come out tomorrow. (Go ahead, break out in song.) Time will tell if that forecast is accurate, but, either way, we can rest in the assurance that the sun AND the Son are always present.

No-Trade Clause



I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time, but I have been busy teaching for the past 5 1/2 weeks and couldn’t seem to find the time or the energy. I learned a valuable lesson in the process—taking or teaching a college course in 5 1/2 weeks is a tall order. WAY too intense—just ask my students!

Today is the last day of the semester, the last day of the month and also the MLB trading deadline. Yes, I know I tend to write about baseball frequently. It’s what I know! Back on the first of this month my husband and I marked our 25th wedding anniversary. What I wanted to write about back then seems to fit perfectly today so I will proceed. Lots of Major League Baseball players will be traded by this afternoon’s deadline. Some of them will leave the only major league team that they’ve ever known. Others seem to move from one team to another on a regular basis. Some will be happy about being traded. Others won’t. Some have to approve the trade because they have a no-trade clause in their contract. Others have no say in the matter. Back in the day many players stayed on the same team throughout their career. These days it is a rare occurrence.

I believe many of these same ideas apply to marriage. When the going gets tough, and it will, it is hard to honor our commitment. Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:36 NLT) It seems easier to give up and walk away, or in the case of baseball, change teams. We look around and see what we think are surely better options. The grass looks greener over there. The words that I’ve heard a number of times in response to that statement in recent years is that the grass is greener where you water it. Whether we’re talking about marriage or baseball, to persevere through the tough times requires effort and commitment from all parties involved. After suffering through 20 losing seasons as a loyal fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, I found it especially sweet when they broke the streak last year. The reward for my loyalty was a long time in coming, but it was worth the wait. If you are going through a rough patch in your marriage, I want to encourage you and your spouse to invoke your own “no-trade clause” and honor your wedding vows (unless it is a matter of safety). Pray, water the grass, and endure. The rewards will follow.

We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy. (James 5:11 NLT)