Our word for the year at Arise Daughter is: “Endure." Honestly, I wasn't sure how to let this land and take root in my spirit because it doesn't sound like something fun to have to do. For a whole year. In fact, the negative connotations made me want to run back to the other word I thought I'd received which was THANKFUL; Now I could get behind THAT. But alas, God said what He'd said and so I leaned in...
The meaning: Endure is a compound Latin word literally meaning "in hard". To endure something means, in my mind, that you already have the capacity to withstand, hold up under, be relied upon to complete the assignment Endure is a present tense verb: "being in a state of strength." We most often associate the word with the ability to bear a hard burden whether your own or someone else's. And while that traditional framework for endurance is necessary and valid, it occurred to me that it can also mean bearing up under something seemingly good such as being placed in a new position of influence or under the spotlight. While these situations might seem desirable for some, they might be uncomfortable for many of us-including myself. As a natural introvert, I may not seek to be in certain places or positions of influence and in fact, if given the chance, I might shy away. But, I am finding, that how I think I should be used does not matter to God. If we are called according to HIS purpose(s) then, we have to be ready and willing to fulfill what He has called us to do.
In a practical sense I think about a lump of coal being transformed. It might be burned to provide heat, fractured and stacked inside of hollowed out wood to become a writing utensil or left alone under extreme pressure to become a diamond. That lump of coal God chose to turn into something else already had the molecular structure within it to become whatever He desired and required. All that the coal needed to do was endure the heat, fracturing or pressure required for the transformation.
As I thought about a biblical reference for the word endure, the prophet Daniel came to mind. Daniel was a young man from the tribe of Judah when he was taken into captivity. He most likely came from a royal or noble family and had his own plans and dreams ahead of him when all of that suddenly changed. He seemingly had everything taken from him when he went into captivity in Babylon- his homeland, ethnic identity, family support and advantages. He was renamed Beltashazar so that he would better fit in with the current culture. The kings courtiers re-dressed him in foreign clothes and fed him rich foreign foods. He was taught the Babylonia culture and placed in the royal palace.
But, in his heart, he remained the Hebrew man Daniel- faithful to the living God and willing to endure whatever situation God placed him in. Daniel did not let captivity break him; in fact, God used him in various high profile capacities and he thrived despite it all
Daniel rejected the rich palace food placed before him and showed how superior a simple diet of fruits and vegetables was. Over the years he endured the accolades and punishments of different kings, yet he didn't allow his changing circumstances to change who he was. It was his faith that gave him the character traits to endure all that came his way. His commitment to whatever assignment God gave him was to represent God well; and he never wavered. There were schemes against him by enemies and no doubt "frenemies" meant to take his life because of who he worshiped but that didn't stop his worship.
Nothing broke him. Not the lions jaws nor the applause.
We can learn so much from this man of faith. His prayer life and how he cared for his earthly temple has given us a blueprint to follow even today. His care and concern for his three ethnic brothers, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (whom we know as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), remained steadfast. He was not willing to compromise his beliefs even though his circumstances constantly changed over the years. He endured what God asked of him and finished well.
So, what is God saying to us this year? As a ministry we need to stay faithful to God in all that He assigns us to do. We will need that faith to endure whatever it is God asks of us this year not focused on what it looks like to us but what He intends it to be. God alone will determine the how, when, what, where and why of our purpose. As long as we endeavor to represent God well, it won't matter our situation or circumstance. As long as we remain humble, willing to serve and quick to give God the glory for all that He is and does, we too will endure what comes our way in 2023.