The Bible says those who endure until the end will receive salvation (ref Matt 24:13). According to Meriam’s Webster’s Dictionary, endurance is defined as:
the ability to withstand hardship or adversity especially: the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.Meriam’s Webster’s Dictionary
All throughout the Bible, we see that God’s people suffered hardships simply from being obedient to His commandments. Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice His only son Isaac (ref Gen 22); yet, through his obedience he proved his love for God and God provided a ram in place of Isaac. Jacob was betrayed by his uncle Laban continuously (ref Gen 31); regardless of the trouble he endured, he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord to receive the blessing and became Israel (ref Gen 32). Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers and accused falsely by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into jail (ref Gen 37, 39). Despite these tests, he was later put in charge of Egypt and saved the nation from a time of severe famine (ref Gen 41). Then of course, Jesus, the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world (ref Jn 1:29), knowing that He would suffer at the hands of the very same people He came to save.
In our walk with God we will undergo trials and testing of our faith. It is not just for ourselves, but also for others. Abraham was destined to be the father of many nations, not only through bloodline, but also through what God taught him. Through those tests he would be able to teach his sons and continue what God had taught him. Paul, in his letter to the Church at Corinth, said that although he had free will, he made himself a bondservant so others would come to Christ. He likened the process to running a race (ref 1Co 9:24, 26). However, rather than a temporary prize, Paul knew the discipline and hardships he endured were to receive the crown of eternal blessedness (ref 1Co 9:25).
Scripture talks about the fruits of the Spirit of God (ref Gal 5) for those who belong to Christ. One of the fruits of the Spirit is long-suffering, or patience. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of long-suffering means: “patiently enduring lasting offense or hardship”. As we can see, endurance and long-suffering go hand in hand, which allows us to see the character of God. Peter confirms this in his account,
“The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance”.2 Peter 3:9
We can see the pattern remains the same – trials and tribulations come because of the Word’s sake (ref Mk 4:17) – and we must go through them in order to obtain the promise of salvation. These tests are necessary in our walk of salvation because they produce the endurance we need; as a matter of fact James tells us to count it all joy when we encounter the trials, knowing they produce a good work in us:
“Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defect], lacking nothing.”
“And not only this, but [with joy] let us exalt in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].”James 1:3-4; Romans 5:3-4 (AMP)
Scripture says His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (ref Isa 55:8-9). Through this process He teaches us to trust in Him with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding, but acknowledging Him in all our ways so that He can direct our paths (ref Pro 3:5-6). The Hebrew word acknowledge or, yada, is defined as; to know, learn to know or to perceive. God wants us to learn from Him, gaining wisdom and understanding that will produce His character in us. In this we are being formed into His Image and His likeness, just as it was in the beginning (ref Gen 1:26).