While a probation officer, I could not believe that some of the kids on my caseload saw going to jail as a badge of honor. It is as if they could now legitimately claim their street rights.

On October 16, 1987, the world finally exhaled after holding its breath for 58 hours when Robert O’Donnell, a paramedic in Midland, Texas, freed 18-month-old Jessica McClure from the 22-foot deep, 8-inch wide hole she fell into. It was finally over; Baby Jessica was safe. But, it was not over for Jessica; it was just the beginning. She was alive, but the ordeal left her with some medical issues that required 13 reconstructive surgeries. She had to have 60% of her right foot amputated, and she still bears some scars from the incident, one of them on her forehead.

How do you think Baby Jessica has responded to her scars now that she is not a baby anymore? When she was eleven, she told the Ladies Home Journal, “I am proud of them [the scars]. I have them because I survived.” A few years later, when she was sixteen, she appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America (January 27, 2003) and said her scars “remind her of how much God loves her.”

There are two ways of responding to our pain. We can be angry at God because bad stuff happens to us or we can praise Him that He is with us through it all. (Fresh Illustrations)

Think about the people we honor in the scriptures; Abraham, who 25 years waited on one child when promised a nation; Job was called righteous by God, but suffered as if he had sinned terribly; Anna, who served in the temple for years, doing the worst kind of work, cleaning up from all the dead animals that were slain, because she was looking for Christ to come. We see the list in Hebrews 11 and recognize how their faith led them to endure circumstances that lasted years and how their endurance became their reward (Hebrews 11:6).

The hard times we experience when we choose to trust God cause endurance to become the badge of honor that blesses us. “……..the one who endures to the end, he will be saved….” (Matthew 24:3-13) It is recognizing how God has carried us through that makes us have many hallelujah moments; that is why “those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:31) Remember; “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and rescues them. How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:7-8)

It is not the swift that win the race, but those who endure to the end.