If you were to talk to a Navy Seal about endurance, he would likely tell you that very often when you feel like you are completely spent and cannot go any further, you are only at 40% capacity. In other words, you still have 60% of your capacity left, even though you might not feel it or think so.
That is a good concept to consider when it comes to adapting to change. Our school communities often experience rapid change, especially if they are still in the process of being formed (which can be anywhere from one to seven or eight years or more). Curriculum, personnel, and dress code and an assortment of other changes can be bewildering and challenging. Also, such changes can be stressful and unnerving. It can rock our equilibrium and upset our peace.
Change is difficult for most of us. We tend to dislike it, especially when it catches us unaware or when we perceive there is too much at once. When change hits us, we should not pretend that our circumstances are not difficult. They are difficult, and change is sometimes very hard. Pretending that our circumstances are not difficult only makes it worse.
Oswald Chambers often said, “Crisis always reveals character.” By that, he meant that when we are dumped down into difficult circumstances, our hearts get exposed and we see what we are really thinking and believing about something. God often uses change and/or difficult and painful circumstances to test us.
The way we confront change is the point. When change comes upon us, do we grumble and complain or remain cheerful and optimistic, knowing that He is always a good father who has complete control of the situation? When we get forced out of our places of comfort or our expectations get blown up, do we get angry and resentful or do we trust that through His Spirit He can give us the grace of long-suffering?
Now there is a term we don’t hear about anymore—long-suffering! Whatever could this mean? Does it not imply that patient endurance, long-suffering, or whatever we want to call it, is a necessary virtue in this pilgrimage of ours, this journey through the Valleys of Baca (Psalm 84) in our world? I think so. God is after overcomers—tough and gritty men and women who endure—the very character trait we want our students to develop.
God sometimes brings change so that He can perfect us in love. Look at 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Love perseveres. Love doesn’t give up. Love which we know is “stronger than death,” is the most powerful force in the universe. As we grow in love, we grow in endurance and perseverance. We develop the virtue of long-suffering as our faith grows and matures and as we learn to trust Him even more—regardless of the changes or circumstances we face.