Christ never promised that life would be a bowl of cherries when we decided to follow him. In fact Jesus warned that what they did to Him might very well happen to us. The secret to living a holy life is endurance to the end and a confidence that He will give us what we need in the time of trial.
We are not living in a culture that is accustomed to endurance. We have been trained to expect results today rather than exercise patience in hopes of attaining prized fruit. Endurance or tenacity during hard times is one of the keys to living a happy life and is one of the hallmarks of the great saints who have gone before us.
In the Old Testament, King David was a man who demonstrated endurance as the jealous King Saul hunted him down. When you read many of the Psalms you will witness how David's confidence in God was tested and how he repeatedly chose the road of enduring the situation while at the same time completely relying on God.
It comes as no surprise that many of the men in King David's army demonstrated heroic virtue. David took a moment to highlight three of these mighty men in 2 Samuel 23:8-12. Let's take a look at these three men and think about our own lives and what we face on a daily basis. Ask yourself if you are enduring with a trusting attitude in the Lord?
The first was Adino, the chief of the three mighty men. Adino wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he slew at one time. While this statement only makes up one verse in the Bible, think between the lines about all that Adino must have endured. Adino represents tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds as he face one struggle after another. What was Adino's attitude when he realized that after defeating twenty-three men there were still many more to overcome? Did Adino think about quitting after one hundred and sixty nine men? Was he a bit discouraged at four hundred and sixteen? The important number that day for Adino was eight hundred, that was what endurance required. What would have happened if he had given up at seven hundred and ninety eight?
What about those days in your life where there is one problem after another? Do you feel like giving up and quitting? With the help of the Lord we can endure till the end.
The second of David's mighty men was Eleazar, the son of Dodo. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand cleaved to the sward; and the Lord wrought a great victory that day; and the men returned after him only to strip the slain. Eleazar represents tenacity in the face of overwhelming fatigue. He was abandoned by all others who were previously with him, but kept fighting to the point where the muscles in his hand actually clung to the sword. Notice that after the victory was won, the men returned.
Have you ever felt like Eleazar? Did friends or even a spouse abandoned the battle leaving you alone to fight for your cause or your children? Perhaps when the victory was won your friends came back to share in the triumph. Remember that when you are tired and feel like giving up you can endure till the end with the help of the Lord.
The third of David's mighty men was Shammah. Shammah represents tenacity in the face of a seemingly insignificant assignment. The Philistines had gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils; and the men [friends] fled from the Philistines. But Shammah took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it, and slew the Philistines; and the Lord wrought a great victory. Think about it for a moment, Shammah defended a plot of lentils, better known as beans. Wouldn't you think that if David is going to list mighty men he would have left out someone who merely defended a bean field? What makes the difference is that this bean field belongs to the Lord.
Have you ever felt that your assignment from God was relatively insignificant? Most of us would gravitate toward the flashy, important and newsworthy assignments, but often times the battle is won when everyday people are faithful in what seems to be small things. What is my bean field that the Lord has given me to defend? I have a wonderful wife and three beautiful girls that make up my bean field. The rest of the world may not consider them an important assignment, but they are everything to me because they are a gift from the Lord. Yes, my family is my bean field and I will endure anything to ensure that this gift from God is protected. I consider my girls my true beanie babies.
Next time you feel like quitting, remember the words of St. Luke, 'by your endurance you will gain your lives.' By enduring with patience we will not only experience the joy of the Lord today but we will inherit heaven which is joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Putting the Word into practice:
1. What is your bean field? What seemingly insignificant task in your life will require endurance till the end? Pray and ask the Lord to help you see this task from His perspective.
2. Next time you feel fatigued in the midst of a trial, take some time to go to church and sit with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. If you can't get to a local church then say a decade of the rosary and ask Our Lady to help you endure. She was a woman of incredible endurance.