According to Webster’s dictionary Endurance means:
- The ability to do something difficult for a long time;
- The ability to deal with pain or suffering that continues for a long time;
- The quality of continuing for a long time.
(In each definition, notice it ends with “for a long time.”)
There are many things that take endurance. Climbing Mount Everest, swimming the English Channel, or completing an Iron-Man triathlon all take great endurance. One more common example of endurance is running a marathon. My friends all know that I don’t even like to drive my car 26 miles, much less run 26 miles. Running that far is difficult and takes a long time, which is pretty much the definition of endurance. I have several friends who are runners that tell me it is tough physically and mentally to run a marathon. It is impossible to accomplish such a feat without the character trait of Endurance. Endurance is what kicks in after a few miles that says to keep fighting through pain and agony and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
So why is endurance a good character trait to have? I think it is because having good character is tough, especially having good character for a long time. Starting a marathon at a record pace means absolutely nothing if it comes without the endurance to maintain that pace. Without endurance, the other character traits become moot points. Having compassion, patience, and sincerity is irrelevant if they are not time withstanding. Being creative, curious, and respectful are of no value if those traits fade with time. Endurance is the bonding agent for a lifetime of character.
According to my six year old son’s Sunday school class, Endurance is sticking with something even when it gets tough. Simply put, life is tough. Living a life with character is even harder, but it is a worthy endeavor to strive for each and every day. Romans 5:3-4 says, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Life produces struggles, there’s no doubt about it. But when we resolve to endure through those struggles, it builds our character and with that, we can all take hope.