Ernest Shackleton (1874–1922) led an unsuccessful expedition to cross Antarctica in 1914. When his ship, aptly named Endurance, became trapped in heavy ice in the Weddell Sea, it became an endurance race just to survive. With no means of communicating with the rest of the world, Shackleton and his crew used lifeboats to make the journey to the nearest shore—Elephant Island. While most of the crew stayed behind on the island, Shackleton and five crewmen spent two weeks traveling 800 miles across the ocean to South Georgia to get help for those left behind. The “failed” expedition became a victorious entry in the history books when all of Shackleton’s men survived thanks to their courage and endurance.
The apostle Paul knew what it meant to endure. During a stormy sea voyage to Rome to face trial for his Christian beliefs, Paul learned from an angel of God that the ship would sink (Acts 27:23–24). But Paul kept the men aboard encouraged, thanks to God’s promise that all would survive, despite the loss of the ship.
When disaster strikes, we tend to want God to immediately make everything better. But God gives us the faith to endure and grow. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “Suffering produces endurance” (5:3). Knowing that, we can encourage each other to keep trusting God in hard times.