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Patient Endurance

Life is challenging. Patient endurance helps us not become angry, frustrated, and bitter. When we display patient endurance, we are following the example of Jesus.

Because of technology, we can get information faster than ever. But much of life still requires patient waiting. No one likes to wait. And no one likes to face trouble. So it’s especially difficult when we must wait for troubles to end, in other words, when we must patiently endure. It feels unfair, especially when there’s no clear or quick solution.

Some troubles and challenges are a result of our own decisions (like when we procrastinate, then find ourselves scrambling to finish things at the last minute). Some troubles and challenges are a result of the world’s craziness (like when we are mocked or ignored because of our beliefs or convictions). Some troubles and challenges are a result of the world’s brokenness (like when someone we love is physically sick). Some troubles and challenges are a ​result of bad decisions or sin (like when people feel hurt and lonely because of betrayal or unkindness).

Sometimes we must patiently endure the absence of something good. Sometimes we must patiently endure the presence of something difficult.

God does not promise his children that they will live easy-peasy, trouble-free lives. Just the opposite, in fact. Jesus, Paul, and all the other writers and teachers in the Bible make it very clear that life is hard and we are going to face lots of difficult things. But it also says, over and over again, that God will never leave us or abandon us and that nothing can ever separate us from his love.

Followers of Jesus are called to abide in him, trusting that he is good, that he is with us, and that he cares. Without that kind of trust, we won’t be able to patiently endure the hard times of life. That kind of trust includes surrender — setting aside our own plans as we wait for God to guide and lead us. And as he leads, we are called to obey. Trust, surrender, and obey — these are all in the center of the Head-Heart-Hands model. They are the core of our true identity as a follower of Jesus and child of God. They are possible only because of love — because of how much God loves us and how faithfully we love him in return.

According to the Bible, faithful endurance is not just an outer display of discipleship. It’s also a main way that God forms us into faithful disciples. Read the scripture passages carefully. Patient endurance changes us into the people God wants us to be.

Patient endurance is a very big deal in our speedy want-it-need-it-now world. It's only possible with the Holy Spirit's help.

Warm-Up

Begin with a conversation starter,​ then use some of these warm-up questions.

  • What are some things you’ve had to wait for? are waiting for now?
  • How would you rank yourself when it comes to waiting patiently (10 is best)?
  • What is hard for you to trust God with?
  • How would you define endurance? How have you heard that word used?
  • When is it hardest for you to be patient? Why?
  • When is it hardest for you to endure? Why?

Read & Reflect

Use one or more of these passages to see what Scripture says about patient endurance. You can also engage with the passage by copying out part of it, rewriting it as a prayer, rephrasing it as its opposite, summarizing it with a single word or phrase, making a list or chart of similar and dissimilar things, or turning it into something visual like a doodle, design, or flowchart.

Jesus' Example

Read Mark 14:32-40 (Jesus praying before his death).

  • What are some of the reasons Jesus was feeling “deeply troubled and distressed beyond grief” (besides the fact that he was facing death)?
  • What do you think about the way Jesus patiently endured his suffering? Is there something here that we can imitate, even though our circumstances are different?
  • What else did Jesus have to patiently endure during his lifetime? Think back to some of the stories you know about him. What can we learn from those stories?
  • Even though we won’t face the same situation Jesus did here, what can we learn from his example?

Positive Example

Read Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:22-43 or Luke 8:40-56 (Jesus and the bleeding woman).

  • How had the woman patiently endured her suffering?
  • What are some things she might have experienced during those 12 years?
  • In this story, how did Jairus show patience?
  • How were Jairus’s and the woman’s situation the same? different?
  • How was Jesus patient in this story?
  • Read aloud some of the extra verses about patient endurance (below). Why do you think the Bible speaks about this so often?

Negative Example

Read from the story of Jonah (an Old Testament un-prophet whose story is a type of parable that teaches how much God loves those we hate and challenges us to trust God’s plans). You can read the whole story, or choose a specific section to discuss the following things:

  • How does God show patient endurance with humans (the Ninevites, the sailors, Jonah)?
  • How would you rank Jonah in terms of trust, obedience, surrender, and patience?
  • What do you think God wants us to learn from the story of Jonah about patient endurance? (and also about humble service, faithful witness, gracious forgiveness, generous hospitality, sacred justice, love/trust/surrender/obedience?)

Teaching Passage

Read Psalm 13.

  • What kinds of things have you struggled with or had to wait for?
  • What’s one way you respond to difficult situations?
  • Rewrite Psalm 13 with this template and share with each other:
  1. How long, oh Lord ______ (describe a difficult situation, struggle, or worry):
  2. But ______ (list some reassuring and comforting truths about God):

Some Ideas About How to Grow in Patient Endurance

  • Rewrite Psalm 13 again this week, taking more time to fill in the different thoughts and ideas.
  • What’s one thing in life that you feel like God isn’t helping you with? Begin each day by honestly expressing your thoughts and feelings to God in prayer, being sure to add the “but” at the end (like Psalm 13 — combination of truth about him and trust in him). Pay attention to how God works in your mind and heart. What changes do you notice? ​ ​
  • What’s one thing you’re learning through a difficult situation that you couldn’t have learned any other way? Tell someone about that, and thank God for that.
  • Use these prompts this week to check how you’re doing with patient endurance:
  1. What am I patiently enduring and how well am I dealing with that?
  2. If things don’t go the way I want, what’s still true about God no matter what?
  3. What can I be thankful for?
  4. What am I learning through difficulty?
  5. What am I hoping for while still trusting that God’s plan is best even if it’s different from mine?
  6. What am I trusting God with?

 

Student Card

Capernaum Version

More verses about patient endurance

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (Romans 5:3-4)

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. (Colossians 1:11-12)

Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4)

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. (Hebrew 6:11-12)

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 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 10:35-36)

…let us strip off everything that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. (Hebrews 12:1-4)

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 1:3)

In view of all this [God’s good gifts and love for us] make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

I John am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. (Revelation 1:9)

I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance… (Revelation 2:2)

I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. (Revelation 2:19)

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2103 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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