Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Helping Others Endure

Episode Resources

Download "How to Endure Suffering."

Leslie Basham: Stories of those who endured hardship in the name of Jesus can encourage you today. Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: When there’s no one there to stand with you and no one to minister to your needs, remember the people that God has used in the past to encourage you, to refresh your heart.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Friday, June 14, 2019.

When you endure through suffering, it encourages other people to do the same thing. And when you’re suffering, you can look to the example of others. Like the example Nancy’s about to share. She’s continuing in the series, “Enduring Life’s Hardships.”

Nancy: One of my favorite all-time books is a book called Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. This woman is now with the Lord, but during World War II, she and her husband were missionaries in New Guinea. They were captured by the Japanese and ended up spending lengthy time separated from each other in Japanese prison camps. Her husband actually was killed in prison.

They were a young, fairly newly married couple. She endured some of the most incredible atrocities and sufferings and hardships as she was caught in the crosshairs of World War II. She’s written that story and what she experienced and how Christ met with her and gave her grace to endure in this book called Evidence Not Seen.

There’s a point in this whole experience when she was in secret police custody. She is sick as can be. She has all these tropical diseases: beriberi, dysentery. She’s weak; she’s hungry; she’s separated from her husband; she’s afraid. Then here’s how she describes what happened.

She said, “So tenderly my Lord wrapped His strong arms of quietness and calm about me. I knew they could lock me in, but they couldn’t lock my wonderful Lord out. Jesus was there in the cell with me.”

We’re talking about how to endure suffering and hardship. The apostle Paul is writing himself from a prison cell—the Mamertine Prison, historians believe, down under the city sewage system in Rome. The most cramped, miserable circumstances that you can imagine being in. He’s writing to encourage his son in the faith, Timothy, who is a pastor in Ephesus and is running scared. He’s intimidated. He doesn’t know how he’s going to face the opposition that is coming in those days.

Paul writes to say, "Here’s some things that will help you to endure, to be faithful all the way to the finish line." That’s what endurance is about, by the way. It’s not being faithful for the short haul. It’s being faithful over the long haul. Enduring all the way to the finish line. That’s what I want to be true of my life when I get to the end is to know that all the way to the finish line I have endured faithfully.

In this series we’re looking at ten perspectives or principles from the book of Second Timothy that will help us to endure hardship. The eighth one, which we started in the last session, is remember that you're not alone. We said you’re not alone because you have the presence of Christ, the presence of God with you. God has said, “I will be with you.”

Paul says, "Everyone deserted me, but God stood by me and He strengthened me. When I had no one else to look to, nowhere else to turn, God was there." That’s what Darlene Deibler Rose experienced there in her cell. “They could lock me in, but they couldn’t lock my wonderful Lord out. Jesus was there in the cell with me.”

Now I want to tell you there’s another reason that you’re not alone. That is not only the presence of Christ, which if that’s all we had would be sufficient, but thankfully God has given us the presence of others. Now, they may not be physically present in our circumstances, but through the grace of God, we can be involved in each others’ lives in ways we were not even able to be physically present.

I want to talk today about how we can minister to one another, how the body of Christ is a means of helping us to endure hardship, and how we can be a means of helping others endure hardship. I think of several principles and insights again from the book of Second Timothy about how we can help each other, how we are not alone because we have each other.

First of all, there’s this matter of praying for each other. Praying for each other. Paul says in chapter 1, verse 3, “I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day." We always think of Paul saying, "I pray for you, I pray for you, I pray for you," but think about where Paul was and the circumstances he was under. Don’t you think you might have been tempted to start your letter by saying, "Please pray for me"?

But Paul says, "I pray for you." You’d think you’d want the pastor praying for the prisoner, but here the prisoner is praying for the pastor.

You know, by the way, we have prisoners all across this country who do pray for the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, who minister encouragement to us. Now God uses us to minister encouragement to them as well, and we pray for each other. We need each other, and we can pray for each other.

I have a close friend who serves in this ministry who was very recently been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), a woman in her mid-fifties. As you can imagine, this came out of the blue. A healthy, fit woman, a runner. This has been a devastating blow to our whole ministry. We love this woman.

But she was at Mayo Clinic yesterday morning. She had an appointment to verify the diagnosis. She's one of many who received an email that we send out prior to these recording sessions. We recorded all day yesterday; we are recording all day today. It's kind of a marathon for us. So we ask people to pray during different time slots during these days as we record.

She was on the mailing list, and she got the email asking people to sign up to pray. She sent an email back saying that she would pray before we got started because her appointment was at 7:45 in the morning there at Mayo Clinic.

I was just so touched when I saw that email. Here's a woman who could be sending an email out to the world saying, "Please pray for me." They are asking for prayer, and many are praying. But in her point of great need, she's saying, "I'm praying for you." That was not just words for her. She's a woman who does pray. She prays, I think, daily for me and for our ministry.

Yesterday was a long recording day. We recorded twelve programs for Revive Our Hearts. I called the office at the end of the day, and a staff member at the other end said, "How did it go today?" He said, "At 2:30 or 3:00 this afternoon I was praying for you. I was thinking, She has to be exhausted right now!" He was praying—hundreds of miles away. There was encouragement going on. I was given grace to endure. I can't remember what I was saying at two or three in the afternoon. But I know there was someone praying. We can pray for each other.

Then remember others who are suffering. Our suffering makes us partners with them. Paul challenged Timothy to share with him in suffering for the gospel, chapter 1, verse 8. We share in suffering as part of a great multitude, a great train of heroes of the faith. Spiritual champions, spiritual marathoners, those who have run the race and have endured, some of whom were martyred for enduring. They lost their lives for their faith. We stand in that train. We stand in that line of spiritual heroes. I think of the fact that we have a part to play in that line.

We may not be beheaded or burned at the stake for our faith, but we have a part to play in the sufferings of Jesus Christ and the sufferings of His Body here on earth. I think of that old Isaac Watts hymn, "Am I a Soldier of the Cross." There is that one stanza that is so pointedly challenging to me:

Must I be carried be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?

Am I going to say, "Lord, you need to make it easy on me."

You know what ladies? We are such wimps. I hate to say it because I don't really like that word. And I know that's not true of everyone in this room. But generally speaking as you look at evangelicalism in the West, we are flabby. We are out of shape. It takes almost nothing to wind us.

We look back at some of these great heroes of the past and we say, "We don't know anything about suffering. We know so little about endurance." Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?

He goes on to say "no." There's a cross for me, and I will carry that. We share with others in their suffering.

We need to stay connected with like-minded believers. We see that in Second Timothy. Stay connected with like-minded believers. This is all part of that point, remember, you’re not alone. You’re part of a body. Seek out other believers. Don’t isolate yourself. Let their faithfulness inspire you, and let others minister to you.

Timothy needed Paul to strengthen him when his faith was weak. That’s why Paul wrote this letter. But Paul needed Timothy and Paul needed others, and he wasn’t afraid to express that. You see it all through the writings of Paul, including here in the book of Second Timothy.

Look at chapter 1, beginning at verses 2–3, “Timothy, my beloved child . . . I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.” Verse 4, “As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.” Three times in this letter, Paul says, "I want to see you."

Now I think Paul wanted to encourage Timothy, but I think Paul wanted Timothy to encourage him. He said, "We’re part of a body. We’re part of a family. We need each other." So he says in chapter 4, verse 9, “Do your best to come to me soon.” Come.

Verse 10, “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.”

Here’s Paul getting ready to be executed, buried in the bowels of the earth in this Mamertine Prison, and he’s thinking about doing ministry and who can help him do ministry?

By the way, who’s this Mark fellow? Remember who Mark was? John Mark? The one who deserted Paul on his first missionary journey and caused the split between Paul and Barnabus. What happened? Well, my guess is two things had happened. My guess is that Mark had changed, and my guess is that Paul had changed. They realized how much they needed each other.

Paul says get Mark and bring him with you. I don’t know where Mark was, but get him, find him, bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Verses 12–13: “Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas.”

It was cold down in this prison. Winter was coming. He said, “I need my coat, and bring my books, and above all the parchments” (v. 13). He wanted his study tools. He wanted materials that he could use to write to send other letters to people.

Verses 19–21: “Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.”

You’re thinking, "Who are all these people? How do you pronounce their names? Why did Paul list them all?" Because he knew we need each other. He knew he needed those people. He was connected. He stayed connected to other believers. He sought them out. He didn’t isolate himself.

How often do we sit in our prison and just wallow in our hardship and get depressed and moan and groan about how hard it is, how everybody has deserted us, how everybody hates me. I’m going to go eat worms. Whatever. Life is miserable. And then we want to make everybody else miserable who hears us moaning in our prison cells.

There’s no moaning in Paul. There’s an incredible spirit that I think is helped by the fact that he not only realizes Christ is with him, but he realizes his need for others in the body of Christ. He says, “Come. I want to be with you. I want to be strengthened by your faith.”

He stayed connected with other believers. He knew what they were doing and where they were. He kept other believers connected with each other. “Greet so-and-so and so-and-so greets you.” This guy is a guy who’s connected in the body of Christ. He’s not a loner. You think the great apostle Paul, did he need people? Yes, he did. Do you need people? Yes, you do. Do I need people? Yes, I do.

Now Paul also knew what it was to find comfort in the presence of Christ even when he had no other people. If Timothy wasn’t able to get there before winter, Paul wasn’t going to moan anyway. He knew that God would give him the grace to meet that need, but he wasn’t afraid to ask for help. Bring the books. Bring the parchments. Bring the coat.

Come and bring your presence. Come and pray with me. Pick up the phone. Call somebody. Say, “I need you.” Send an email. Say, “Can you pray for me, or can I pray for you?” We need each other.

Remember the people that God has already brought into your life. The people who have encouraged you, the people who have brought refreshment to your heart and your spirit. Remember those people, especially when you feel that you are all alone.

I know we have a lot of young moms who listen to Revive Our Hearts, and they feel like it’s kind of a lifeline. A woman emailed us last week, and she said, “I’ve got these little ones. I’m not in a season of life where I can go out for a weekly Bible study.” She said, “Revive Our Hearts coming in—my kids know that’s my little break, and that’s what keeps Mom sane.”

Sometimes you’re going to feel very alone—like there’s a season of life there where you can’t have a lot of connections with other people, when you feel that everyone has deserted you. Maybe you’ve moved far away from family, or they’ve moved away from you, or there are people who are opposing you, telling you you are crazy for raising your kids this way. And you feel so alone.

When there’s no one there to stand with you and no one to minister to your needs, remember the people that God has used in the past to encourage you, to refresh your heart. Paul did that.

Look at chapter 1, beginning in verse 15. He says, “All who are in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.” But he didn’t stop there. He could have just bemoaned all he didn’t have, all the people who had left, which is what sometimes we tend to do. But he goes on to say in verses 16–17, “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome, he searched for me earnestly and found me.”

Rome was the largest city in the world in that day. The largest city in the world until the 1800s when London surpassed it. There were millions of people in Rome. How many people in Roman dungeons? But Onesiphorus came to Rome; he found Paul, and he ministered to him.

Paul says in verse 18, “You well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.” Paul thinks back to a time when he wasn’t alone, to a time when a fellow servant, a fellow soldier was there to help him, to encourage him, to refresh him. God will encourage you today as you think back to the people who have ministered to you in these difficult seasons.

Then again, still thinking about other believers and the fact that we’re not alone, develop godly heroes. Develop godly heroes. Paul was that kind of hero to Timothy. Timothy was challenged to become that kind of godly hero to those who would follow behind him. Paul says in chapter 3, verse 10, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness.”

Paul said, "I’ve given you an example to follow. Now that means you need to follow it." Look for those who have set a godly example and follow their example. He goes on to say in verse 14 of chapter 3, “As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.”

Paul says humbly, “I model to you the things I taught to you. So continue in those things. You know what I’ve told you, and you’ve seen me living it out. You know not only what you’ve learned, but you know from whom you learned it, so continue in those things” (3:14 paraphrased).

I love reading biographies of great Christians of the past. From the time I was a little girl, I teethed on them. I continue to read them to this day. I’ve been encouraged in recent days just by a message I pulled off the Internet that is a biographical sketch of Adoniram Judson. I’ve read his biography in the past.

A biography I read in this past year, J. O. Fraser, Beyond the Ranges, I think it’s called. Some of these great servants of God in the faith served the Lord with so much less support than what we have today. Today if people are missionaries, they have Internet access. They have email. They can fly back and forth in many cases. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I’m saying there are those who served the Lord in conditions in the past, and some still today, that are just hard for us to comprehend.

So when I think my day is rough, I read some of those biographies. I read about these soldiers of the faith who endured hardship, and my faith is strengthened by these godly heroes.

I have heroes who are living today. I don’t put them on a pedestal. I’m just saying these are men and women who’ve been faithful over the long haul. They encourage me. You’ve heard me say before—I’ll probably say it again—one of my great heroes in the faith (heroines in the faith) is Joni Eareckson Tada.

Now she wouldn’t want that designation about herself because she feels so very weak, but I’m telling you on days when I struggle to face whatever is in my day, the Lord often brings Joni to mind. I think about what it takes her that day to get out of bed, to get dressed, to get makeup on, to write her books, to paint her paintings, to do her radio program. I think, Oh Lord, if You can give her grace, as You are doing this day (it often reminds me to pray for her too), then You can give me grace.

Then, learn from those who’ve gone before you. And as you learn from them, then remember that you have a responsibility to pass the baton on to those who are coming behind. Learn from those who’ve gone before, and then pass the baton on to those who are coming after you.

That’s what Paul says in Second Timothy 2, verse 2, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

I got a call recently from a godly, older man, seventy-five years old. He's been a pastor for many years. He called today, as he periodically does, to see how I'm doing, how's my walk with the Lord, and sharing what God's doing in his life. He's such an example of faithfulness.

He said, "Let me pray for you." He knew I was studying that day. He prayed such a precious, encouraging prayer. I'm learning from him. But I have a responsibility to pass on that legacy of faithfulness to others.

Within a few days of that call, I had a chance to talk to two younger women—one in her twenties, one in her thirties—who are coming after me. They are women who love the Lord and want to keep loving Him. But their facing challenges. They are facing hardships in their lives. I was able to pray with them, to encourage them, to strengthen them, and to pass on to them some of the encouragement that people like that seventy-five-year-old pastor passed on to me.

Let me say, by the way, there are some of you who listen to Revive Our Hearts and have listened for a number of years. You’ve been nurtured through this ministry. You’ve grown through it. Let me just encourage you to be sharing with others what God has given to you through this ministry. Not just to sit there and fill your notebook and your heart and your life with these truths, but to know that you have a responsibility to pass these things on to others.

It’s so neat to see women who are taking the resources that we have available through Revive Our Hearts and are leading studies with others.

I got a precious email yesterday from a woman who is raising five granddaughters. She's the legal guardian for these five girls. She said they had been going through a set of books. She talked about how she was discipling those girls. She said, "When one of them had to join me in my office and your program was on, she said, 'Hey Grandma, that's what you've been telling me and my sisters for a very long time now.'"

And I said, "Yes!" There's a grandma . . . I don't know how she ended up with these granddaughters, only the Lord knows the story. But don't you think her life is really hard some days? But she's passing on to others what we've been able to share with her what would encourage her. And those granddaughters, Lord willing, one day will be passing that on to others.

So in times of hardship remember that you’re not alone. Christ is in that cell with you, and there are others. There’s the body of Christ. We share together in the sufferings of Christ. Let the body be the body to you, and you be the body to others.

Thank You, Lord, for the resources that You provide for us, for Your incredible presence when we think that we’re all alone. Thank You for other believers, many that You’ve used in my own life to lift up my hands.

I think about people within the last two weeks who have called, who have emailed, who have prayed for me, who have prayed with me, who have listened to me share my heart and have spoken the truth to me when I couldn’t think to speak the truth to myself.

Thank You, Lord, for brothers and sisters and family and the body of Christ. We need each other, and I’m grateful for Your provision. I just thank You that we are never, ever alone, and as a result, we can endure the hardship. We pray with thanksgiving in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: That's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. We all need to hear what Nancy’s been saying because all of us will go through difficult times in our lives. Nancy’s been helping us prepare for those times in a series called, "Enduring Life’s Hardships." 

Do you ever wish you could have heard a message like this when you were younger? We're so grateful that God is using this ministry to reach women of all different ages and in different seasons of life. We heard from one college student who excitedly told us about the day she discovered Revive Our Hearts. She said.

I have been reading transcripts and resources on your website. Thank you for making them free and accessible. As a younger woman, I am so encouraged by the truth you're are speaking. I'm excited to continue to listen and to read Revive Our Hearts

We’re thankful the Lord has given this young woman a heart for His Word. It's because of listeners like you who support this ministry that we're able to connect with women like this college student and point her to God’s Word. Your generous gift will help us continue to make these digital resources available at no charge, and help more women find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

Today when you make a donation of any size to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you a book by Elisabeth Elliot called, Suffering Is Never for Nothing. Elisabeth Elliot once said, “suffering may be anything from traffic to taxes to tumors.” No matter where you land in that spectrum, this book will help you hold on to the truth that your suffering is never for nothing.

Visit ReviveOurHearts.com to give today, or give by phone by calling 1–800–569–5959. Ask for Elisabeth’s book, Suffering Is Never for Nothing

Leslie: Next week, Nancy will continue in the series, “Enduring Life’s Hardships.” When you’re tempted to give up, you need to remember that there is a glorious future ahead. Nancy will paint that picture for you Monday. Please be back, for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is helping you find encouragement in the midst of trials. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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