When Life Becomes Overwhelming
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
-Lamentations 3:22-25, emphasis added
The very anticipation of catastrophic world events on top of everyday personal trials can be so overwhelming that at times it may feel like life is just too painful to even go on. Have you ever felt that way? Jeremiah did. In the Old Testament, without all the benefits and blessings we have in this church age, he lived through a life in shambles, friends all dead, and the stench of destruction all around everything he held dear-yet he lived in hope. How can that be?
True children of God endure under affliction. The Greek word for endure, hupomeno, is a very interesting word. In fact, I want to give you the privilege of sharing in one of the most spectacular things that I like to do through the Bible: see the annologgia scriptura--the analogy of the Scripture as one Scripture explains another Scripture, and it all fits together like a beautiful woven tapestry.
Consider this association: The word meno, which is used all through John 15, means "to abide." In the Greek language, putting a preposition that amplifies, like hupo, in front of a verb like meno, gives this meaning: "to abide under something." It means "to abide when you're being squashed, when you're being pressed, to super-abide when things are not the way that you wanted them, or expected, or hoped them to be."
Endure (hupomeno) is used only eighteen times in the New Testament, and it is used to describe a genuine believer's response to dreadful and fearsome times, such as when the world is falling apart, as Matthew 24 describes. Some may wonder what "enduring under affliction" means. Let's follow this beautifully illustrated trail through the New Testament to find out:
(Emphasis added to the following verses.)
Mark 13:13: "You will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved." This verse is a parallel to Matthew 24: it is from the same sermon, the same context, and the same event when Jesus is speaking the Olivet Discourse. The thirteenth verse of both chapters is identical. The verse reflects the response of a true believer, one who endures or abides in Christ under trials.
Romans 12:12: [Be] rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. The bold portion is hupomeno, which means "abiding under difficulty." The evidence of a true believer is that he or she patiently and superbly abides in Christ when going through tribulation.
So regardless of what you face this week, this month, or this year, grab hold of God's overflowing hope. Let Him weave your weaknesses, like fragile fibers, in with the countless strands of His promises in the Scriptures to stretch and twist you into waiting hope. And then, when troubles increase, let Him bring you a fresh portion of His hope and goodness as you wait, and enduringly find hope in Christ!
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