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Patient Endurance

Sandy Fyffe

Lawn Mowing Musings

Our mower broke.

It had been dying a slow death over the past few months, and eventually it just blew black smoke out the side and chugged its last chug.

Mowing used to be my responsibility - a responsibility I enjoyed, actually. When my children were young, I took it as an opportunity to be outside in the fresh air and unable to hear anything except the roar of a motor in my ears. At the end of mowing, sweaty and red-faced, I could look over my work and see it all nicely trimmed back - so neat and tidy. A job started and a job finished. Very satisfying!

Fast forward a few years, and now I have sons who are all capable mowers. I’ll admit, not mowing the lawn is also nice! For the past few years, I have not been the one to get hot and sweaty. Rather, I just admired their hard work! But all that changed when the mower broke.

Our boys had been mowing a couple neighborhood lawns. They could not shirk their responsibilities, so we borrowed a mower from a friend. We were so grateful for their generosity, but admittedly, the job became much harder. The mower we were borrowing had no self-propulsion, and the wheels kept slipping down making the trek through the thick St. Augustine grass incredibly labor-intensive in the hot August sun. Our boys did what they could, but being the compassionate mother I try to be, I released them from mowing our lawn after they had finished the neighbors’ lawns. Surely I could mow our lawn again this once, right? I mean, I had been the sole mower for years!

I began in the front, where there’s not much to mow. I asked Jeremiah to grab the weed eater and start doing the finishing work while I moved on to the backyard. The backyard - where the sun was blazing down in full afternoon strength. Did I mention that the mower was not self-propelled? And don’t forget the slipping wheels! Needless to say, I was beginning to grow ridiculously weary after several passes. I was about two-thirds finished when I was ready to throw in the towel. I was not in good enough shape for this anymore! Just as I was preparing to turn off the mower, I looked up and saw Jeremiah weed-eating around the house, red-faced and sweaty. Wait! If he could keep going, surely I could make just a few more passes…

Endurance. The Bible actually has much to say about it. I began to think of several things as I finished mowing. Jesus teaches that the “one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13). I thought of Jesus, who “endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). Then there’s the Lord’s fatherly discipline, that we are instructed to endure, for the “Lord disciplines the one he loves” (Heb. 12:6). But looking at Jeremiah working hard and being inspired to endure made me think of one more thing. God has given us the body of believers, other saved sinners, who are also enduring. Seeing another one endure, cling to Christ in faith, in the midst of a trial, comforts us and causes us to persevere, does it not? 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 

~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-6

My sweaty, exhausted agony turned to worship as I realized the great gift God had given me in the family of the redeemed. A weary glance at a sister laboring for the sake of the gospel, discipling her children or sacrificially loving a neighbor, gives me renewed strength to endure. A passing conversation with a brother who is keeping his eyes fixed on Jesus when work is stressful and relationships are strained reminds me to fix my eyes on Jesus in the midst of my trials.

On September 20, we will look more intently at what it is to walk side by side in discipleship relationships for the sake of endurance in faith. To fix our eyes on Jesus together and remind each other of what is true according to Jesus’s words and finished work on the cross. I pray that we will even walk away with practical ideas of how we might do this together. I hope you will come ready to see how God might use you to encourage another - and how you might receive encouragement from another!

May the God of all comfort give comfort to you all, my sisters.