Mentoring by Endurance
Nov 08, 2008 by Don Payne | 0 Comments
Who does not at times (some more often than others) face difficulties that appear too much to overcome? What type of mentors or mentoring do we need in those times? Some mentors can provide insight or help us think creatively to find solutions. Other mentors can challenge us and help us find courage and strength we did not know we had. A godly mentor can keep us properly oriented toward God with healthy faith and hope. In all these ways mentors might be conscious of their influence. However, there is a vital type of mentoring that may be overlooked; the example of those who have endured, who have made it through challenges as difficult or more than our own.
Today while in my garage exercising I was listening to Eric Clapton sing "My Father’s Eyes". It reminded me of my own dad and the many times I have found strength from his and my mom’s endurance through some almost indescribable losses and crises. Some of those hard times are now decades past, but when I think of them I am still rather stunned that they made it through them. I’m sure they don’t know that their example is still working. On any random day they may be sitting in their living room reading and enjoying a cup of coffee while unbeknownst to them I am feeling overwhelmed, without answers and energy. Only as I stop now to think about this am I aware of how many times their example has just skimmed the surface of my mind and somehow reassured me that I, too, can make it. In both some quiet ways and some intense ways they leaned hard on God and made it through. Yes, there are some scars from the process but those serve as markers of grace. They are mentoring me while they think they are only drinking coffee and talking with each about a football game!
I realize that I have been blessed with parental mentors that not everyone enjoys (this is the other side to the problem of God’s sovereignty; what right do I have to the blessings in my life?). Two notes of encouragement are in order, though. Find mentors who have made it through indescribably tough times. Probe their example and let it shape you. Second, if you are the one who has endured, don’t take the power of that endurance lightly. Realize that you have mentoring strength to give. You need not parade those experiences or glamorize them, but somehow let those stories get into others’ journeys. If you want to know how significant this type of mentoring is intended by God to be, review Hebrews 4:14-16; 12:1-3, and James 5:11. In a number of ways this is the type of mentoring example provided us by our Lord Himself (though I suspect He knows about it) and by the many who have gone before us faithfully.