Let “we” take the place of “me”
100 years ago, an expedition of 28 men spent an entire Antartic winter trapped in their ship — the fitly named Endurance. Suddenly, dreams of discovery became a story of survival. They never reached Antartica, but they were successful in a better way. After ice crushed their ship, Earnest Shackleton led the men across tables of ice and raging seas to safety. It’s a story of triumph in the face of hardship. We need this kind of endurance.
I’m not writing to feed fear, but to do the opposite — to feed hope. We’ve all found ourselves in our own Endurance of sorts. Our homes. Our social networks. But we can still live life.
“The trappings of civilization are soon cast aside in the face of stern realities, and given the barest opportunity of winning food and shelter, man can live and even find his laughter ringing true.”
We can face the unimaginable events unfolding around us in faith, and not fear. In Shackleton’s words — we will live. We will find our laughter ringing true as we endure.
It’s in these moments where Jesus’ words begin to ring true with us. We’re listening again. He’s not Lord of the good times only. He’s the one who faced death. Jesus knows endurance, it’s the way of faith, the way of resurrection.
We could look to Shackleton, a man, for leadership principles and to inspire our grit. But if we truly desire bold and loving faith, the kind that endures; for that we must look to Jesus alone.
Learning Endurance at the Feet of Jesus
Realize We Already Have What We Need
Paul reminded the early Christians: “Jesus has what you need.”
Christian, listen to these realities that are already “in your cart”. This is way more than toilet paper; We have encouragement, comfort from being loved, intimacy with the Spirit of God, God wants us, He is merciful towards us. All this in Philippians 2.1–4. If we need endurance, we have to embrace by faith that in Christ we lack nothing.
Retrace The Trajectory of Jesus’ Life
Jesus is more about “we” than “me”.
Paul asked the early Christians to focus on the needs of others. Nothing could be more pressing for us today. It’s never been about “me”.
No one does “we over me” better than Jesus who “…emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2.7–8) The faith that Jesus lived is the faith that He is shaping in us. Drop the “me” and embrace “we”.
Remember Who We Trust
Paul’s words from prison recorded in Philippians 4.11–13 are true today to each of us in our homes or hospitals. Would we pray them until they describe our heart? “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Endurance is a long game. It’s not quick, easy, or cheap. Jesus chose endurance when he rejected Satan in the wilderness. He would take the cross, and take the long way of faith to get there. Shackleton understood endurance in the sense that his men weren’t getting home overnight. He recorded this simple yet profound self-admonition in his journal during the long winter:
“Need to put footstep of courage into stirrup of patience”
In days like these, don’t we all.