Written by Andrea Nwabuike
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my parents doing what I called, “the drop off”. After spending the day making peanut butter sandwiches and watching Sailor Moon, my mom would quickly rush us off to her workplace. Dad would meet us at this “drop off site” and after a brief hello would shuttle me back home. I always thought of this as a fun routine; a chance to be chauffeured by two of my favourite drivers. In retrospect, I can’t imagine how exhausting this was for my parents. I didn’t realize it at the time but racing back and forth between work, church life and a rambunctious child was not easy.
I’ve asked my parents about that time. Wasn’t life difficult back then? Wasn’t it hard being so far from your family? Weren’t you scared underneath all the responsibilities you carried? They simply shrug and say, “God brought us through.” There are countless stories that bring up the same questions for me. Each time my mom and dad tell me about nights spent thousands of miles away from their families, disappointments, grief and frustrations, I wonder how they got through it. And each time, their response is the same: an easy shrug and the words, “God brought us through.”
Maybe this is just the hallmark of the immigrant mentality. The dogged drive to build a life from nothing may be imprinted in the minds of those who answer the calling of the Great White North. But I suspect that it is something far deeper. Their mentality of enduring hardships in pursuit of a greater reward is countercultural. Our generation is parched by an insatiable and individualistic need for instant gratification. We want happiness and comfort now. But my parents did not struggle so that I would have things easy. They were transparent in their struggles so that I would learn the sweetness of endurance.
I believe my parents ability to press on through hardship is rooted in the truths of Scripture and fuelled by the strength of the Spirit. I have not once seen my parents confidence in the faithfulness of God waiver. Their example draws me to turn my eyes to the God who assures me that, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
Christianity does not promise us a life of ease or comfort. In fact, the Christian life is defined, in part, by a willingness to suffer for the sake of the gospel. This posture of endurance was modelled to us first by the Son of God, who saw it fit to endure the shame of the cross for the glory of the Father. Endurance is the legacy of the children of God, passed down from one generation to another so that one day we might share in an inheritance of the Father’s glory.