Passion week reminds us of another grueling journey
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:2
Sir Ernest Schackleton had already been knighted for his accomplishments as an explorer. But he wasn’t done. Rather than rest on his laurels, he kept pushing. Shackleton had the South Pole on his mind, with a vision to be the first to walk across it coast to coast.
In December of 1914, he set out with a team of 27 men (selected from 5,000 applicants) on a ship aptly named, Endurance. Long story short, they did not accomplish their goal. Due to the Endurance getting stuck in the impassable ice flows, Shackleton’s mission morphed to just keeping his team alive, a tall order given that they would be stranded some year-and-a-half in unlivable polar conditions.
Shackleton would have to watch as his cherished Endurance sank in the Weddell Sea.
But the spirit of Endurance did not go down with the ship. That spirit remained and would sustain this legendary explorer and his team for nearly two years of polar nights, extreme cold, and malnourishment until their rescue was complete in August of 1916.
And now the fabled ship has been located. After years of searching, specialized submarine equipment made it possible for Shackleton’s Endurance to be found and photographed as it rests on the bottom of the ocean, nearly two miles deep.
Endurance, what a beautiful word. It describes something rarely found in our world today, but oh, so valuable. For, without the spirit of endurance one cannot push through difficulty. Without the spirit of endurance, we simply give up and give way to circumstance. Without endurance, we die ignoble deaths.
As we reflect on Good Friday and celebrate Resurrection Sunday, this is a great reminder that the supreme embodiment of endurance is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot fully fathom all that He endured on our behalf. He pressed through rejection, public disgrace and cancellation, emotional torment, injustice, betrayal and denials by his followers, abandonment, a beating that disfigured him beyond recognition, and finally, a torturous death. He would not give up until He was fastened to a Cross, having secured forever the means of our atonement and redemption. When it was finished, He would be the one to say so.
… the supreme embodiment of endurance is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Friend, we are called to be like Jesus in this quality of endurance. We are admonished to follow His example and push through when life is hard, to press on even when we feel like we can’t go another day. What is the spirit of endurance but the Spirit of Christ? It is by this same Spirit that God helps us to faithfully endure whatever comes our way until our race is finished.
Bless God, the Spirit of endurance lives.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.