‘For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.’ (Heb. 10:36) It was December of 1988. We were having dinner with Jane’s brother and sister-in-law in Cape. We were in our quiet, small way celebrating signing contracts on the purchase of an existing AM radio station. We had mailed the signed documents to California for seller’s signatures. In our minds the agreement was final; little did we know that the same afternoon, the seller had signed documents for another buyer to purchase what verbally had been sold to us. About midnight that evening, after arriving back home, the phone rang and a friend informed us that we had been dropped from the sale. So much leading up to that moment pointed to a fast track and smooth journey to starting the first contemporary Christian Radio station in the area. That night we were blind-sided by a huge stumbling block to any CCM radio station being established. We had the responsibility of a loan and no station, no income. However, our first response was not fear.
We lay awake that night for awhile, not many words said. Jane and I just held onto each other, a tear here and there. What had happened? What do we do now? We were too stunned to say very much. Knowing we were progressing in what we were sure was the motion of God in our lives, we just quietly paused. So many obstacles had been removed over the previous months. All had been risked to share this Grace message: my job, significant financial obligations and most importantly, three girls that depended entirely upon Jane and me to secure them a comfortable and meaningful life. What next? There were so many things swirling around in our heads. Before any of the above had happened, a friend had called and said that in her daily prayers she had seen my face. She called our house with a scripture and told Jane to give it to me to hold onto: ‘For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.’ (Heb. 10:36) That’s what we had to do, what we could only do, be patient and continue to believe that what had been birthed in our lives months earlier would come to pass. We didn’t want to build WBVN out of just a good idea; we were being pushed by our hearts, by our spirits to simply walk in that direction. While we couldn’t see the end of the journey, we continued to walk in the direction we believed we were to go. To make a very long story short, let me summarize by saying that over the next two years we were finally granted a license for a new FM station, greater coverage and stereo to boot, for a lot less money. What had been so terrible that December evening in 1988 turned out to be a better thing, becoming FM 104.5 on January 8th, 1990.
I tell that history to help express something that Jane said to me the other day. We were talking about her medical experience with GBS beginning last March. Endure was the word she brought up. Endure is what we did that December and many times since. Endure is what she did last year. However, let me say that the enduring I’m referring to is not so much the common expression most Christians use. It’s more closely associated with staying calm and trusting than bearing hardship. Jesus endured the cross because of the Joy set before him. He endured because of a bigger picture. He didn’t endure suffering the physical damage only, but endured because of what he could see down the road. The moment looked bleak, but his vision looked past that cross. He endured because of what the cross meant to you and me. It was the Joy of what lay ahead, not what was taking place right then. What could be seen at the cross was Jesus crucified, humiliated, the mission lost for his followers, the church crushed, the Messiah dead! By sight the flesh picture was a discouraging picture, but something more wonderful was going on than what could be seen.
In Chicago, Jane endured a lot of pain and humiliating moments, but her vision saw past that. It never crossed Jane’s or my mind that our Father was not our Deliverer, our Shield, our Righteousness, our Lord, our Savior, the God that had declared Himself a Friend of Abraham and our Friend-our God, like the God David declared in the Psalms. It didn’t cross our minds, did not occur to us, that we were alone, never crossed our minds that we had no Hope.
The Greek words translated ‘endure’ in Hebrews 6:15 and Hebrews 12:2 are more akin to ‘remaining behind after others have gone, waiting for the onset of something overpowering what is going on now.’ It’s about being ‘long-minded’. Whatever calamity that’s going on in our lives is not the goal, not the finish. The big picture is not an eighty year picture, it’s an eternal picture. Jesus endured this life with its pain and injustice, looking through a window at the eternal. We need to do that as well. While calamity comes to all in this life, Christ provided another Life that is made to overpower the common one. Enduring in the Christian’s life is not about tolerating or putting up with something, not just bearing up under something. It’s about standing with expectation of the future, a future that’s not subject to the moment; it’s looking at the big picture, knowing that He has come so that we might have eternal Life in this life, come so that we can find a blessed Life inside the cursed one. Scripture says we are to resist doubt. The essence of that word (doubt) means double; double means we are left with the idea that life is made up of ‘maybe, maybe not’. Our God ‘knows’ what we need even before we ask. He has full knowledge! Not knowing us by observation or by research; instead He has come to full knowledge because He knows us as His child.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (we live by Faith, not by sight) gets used for almost every possible scenario. While standing at the foot of Jane’s hospital bed early one Chicago morning I had one of those ‘I know this’ moments. It’s where your heart is so convinced that the scriptures finally crystallize and you know, really know, a scripture is meant for just such a time as this. In the Complete Jewish Bible it’s quoted: ‘we live by trust, not what we see.’ In application, Jane and I did not deny what we could see and what we were experiencing, it was truly terrible; but we did not respond to her condition by letting what was happening in the flesh challenge our Spiritual Faith. What I saw every day did not change my heart attitude about God and what she experienced each day did not change anything she had to say about God (other than giving more Praise, more thanksgiving). We didn’t let what was happening change our big picture. We did not move away from what we believed, what we trusted in. All the doctors (there were 7 each morning), medicines, x-rays, blood clots, the times she stopped breathing, the pneumonia, the kidney failure, the rapid heartbeat, the total paralysis (in her body, everything was paralyzed inside and outside), none of those things affected the Life experience we have had with Christ. Nothing could separate us from the Love of God. With the help of knowing His presence and knowing God for who He is, we endured. We prayed for restoration, and thousands of our friends, family, listeners and people we did not even know prayed. Those prayers were such a comfort and joy for us. Prayer was a necessary part of what happened there. It is the heart of God that we pray for one another, encourage one another. But while we prayed, we endured and trusted in our relationship with Father. He was a God who came and sat with us because we expected Him to. Jane would tell you, ‘we are already set with Him in Heavenly places’, even as we live in this life. We knew that we had already, in the big picture, escaped from death to a Life that can never die!