God’s Word for Today: Fortitude. Typically, this word would never come up in anything I ever wrote. As part of “winner’s week”, fortitude can be found in all winners. This word cannot even be found in the New International Version of the Bible. But, God wanted to use this word today, so here we go.
Fortitude is almost separated into 2 different meanings and then, when reviewed, kind of comes back together as one. The first definition of fortitude is: courage in pain or adversity. Pain we think of in the physical sense. Adversity in the mental sense. Yet again, either pain or adversity can actually cause the other. Waking up every day with pain causes adversity. Facing adversity in one’s life on a continual basis can cause physical pain.
A name that comes to mind when I think of fortitude is Dr. Tom Osborne. He was the University of Nebraska Cornhusker Football Coach from 1973 thru the 1997 season. His accomplishments were pretty amazing. Even if you have absolutely no inkling to read anymore because you prefer another team, just know that what Dr. Tom accomplished was because he had fortitude.
As the Head coach for the Huskers, Tom never had a season with fewer than 9 wins. Considering the average season only contains 12 games, that is quite the record. His teams finished in the top 15 of the AP poll top 25, 24 out of his 25 years of coaching. His teams won outright National Championships in 1994, 1995, and shared one in 1997. His overall record was 255-49-3 which is an 83.6% win record. Some pretty impressive statistics.
What defines Tom as having fortitude is the fact that it took him over 20 years as a Head coach to win a National Championship. Most people probably would have given up. Many, many fans for years held to the theory that Dr. Tom could not win “the big one”. There were many years he couldn’t even beat the University of Oklahoma in the famous rivalry games the day after Thanksgiving. Every year that the Huskers fell short of complete Glory, it was discussed that Tom maybe should step down. Fans figuratively “wanted his head”. Well, that was a little harsh. Maybe I should have said they “wanted his head coaching job taken away”. Yes, that sounds much better.
Then, the magic finally happened. Years and years of hard work and fortitude paid off. Tom had almost won a National Championship in the 1983 season, but lost to the Miami Hurricanes by 1 point in the 1984 Orange Bowl. It came down to the Huskers scoring a touchdown in the final seconds of the game. This put them 1 point behind the Hurricanes (31-30). Dr. Tom could have simply called for kicking the extra point and tied the game. But, to justify a true National Championship, Tom went for the win. The 2 point attempt was thwarted. The Huskers lost. But, Dr. Tom gained the respect of many. Husker fans still talk about that decision. Don’t ever settle for 2nd best when you have the chance to win. His decision took fortitude.
2Corinthians 6:4. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;
Endurance is a synonym of fortitude. To be a winner, you must have both. Every day, many of you wake up with one form of pain or another. For some, it is an affliction of permanent physical pain. You have to have the fortitude to face each day with this physical pain. I can only relate with the aches and pains I wake up with because of advancing age. When I was 20, if I woke up with the pains I have now, it was because I had pulled one of those “hey watch this” type stunts. But, many of you have no choice. You face your pain day in and day out. You are a winner, you have fortitude.
The other pain I see many of you face is the mental type. Mostly it is from a loss of someone near and dear to you. I see the pain almost daily in your posts. I feel your pain. Not on the level you are having to face, but I do understand it. We have discussed this before. You have fortitude. You face this pain every day and still endure your life. You are winning race.
Today, know that you are a winner. Know that the pain you face on a daily basis is not, I repeat, NOT as punishment for anything. The pain you face is part of this imperfect world. I wish I had the ability to take your pain away. I truly would love to end any and all suffering. Then, we wouldn’t need fortitude would we? So, start today by giving yourself accolades. For whatever degree of pain you are suffering, you are enduring. You have fortitude. You are a winner. And God applauds you……….
Prayer: My dearest Heavenly Father. Today, I am hurting. Today, I really don’t think I have any endurance left. My fortitude is wearing thin. I really want to quit. But Lord, I know you have great plans for me. I know that putting my hope, trust, and belief in you Lord will carry me thru this day. Then Lord, we can talk about tomorrow. Jesus suffered, endured, and had fortitude for me so I could pray in His name. Amen.