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Fortitude

Read: Hebrews 10:19-39

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. (v. 36)

Fortitude is a word rich in meaning. It is derived from the Latin word for strength, and it means the strength of mind that allows a person to withstand fear, bear pain, or face adversity. Fortitude is “stick-to-it-ive-ness”; it is equal parts courage, perseverance, and patience. When my own fortitude is lacking and I am tempted to throw in the towel, I take great comfort in the testimony of other Christians who have persevered in the faith.

Some years ago, I spent the summer volunteering on Cyprus, working with refugees and immigrants. While there, I was struck by the testimony of Filipino guest workers—women who had come to Cyprus to work as domestic servants in the homes of the wealthy and powerful. These women endured abusive working conditions: long hours, low pay, and little to no time off. Some of them were separated from their husbands and children, leaving their families back home so they could provide for them by working abroad.

But on Sunday mornings, they arrived at church early to practice a few simple Christian songs to sing to the congregation. Worshiping God gave them comfort and the strength to endure the difficult week ahead. Their fortitude reminds me of the lines of one of my favorite hymns:

No storm can shake my in-most calm
While to the Rock I’m clinging
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

—Jane Olson

As you pray, ask God for the fortitude to persevere in the faith.

About the Author

Jane Olson is a college counselor and high school teacher. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Lars and her children Claire and Teddy.