Actually, the shovel isn’t really from the stone age, but it does look like something Fred Flintstone left behind.

God dropped 9 inches of snow on East Texas, where the only snow we usually see is in a cone covered with grape syrup.   Our world came to a stop.  Everyone stayed home and practiced “snowcial distancing.” 

The accumulation in my driveway had to be removed because the forecaster said more was coming.   “But how can I remove it?”  I wondered.   The only snow shovel around here is hanging on the wall down at the Cracker Barrell.

I had to improvise!  I raided my wood pile and found a cabinet door, and a 2 by 4 and then pinned them together with a lot of decking screws.  My shovel wasn’t very pretty, but it was sturdy and it worked. 

It was slow going, though.  The thermometer said 20 degrees and my fingers said, “Ouch.”   Texans have long endured the scorching months of summer and now frigid fingers too.  Is this fair? 

The snow was heavy, causing me to conclude that I overdid it on the size of my shovel.  It was at least as twice as wide as a store-bought shovel and four times as heavy.  I was ready to quit after 15 minutes of shoveling but I broke out a lawn chair and took a five-minute break instead.  (Hey, I am nearly 68 you know) 

It was tough work.  My mind was doing a two-part harmony with my back which was singing the blues.  Time for the lawn chair again.  

As I labored, I thought of one of my favorite Greek words – the word “hupomeno.”   It’s a compound word.  “Hupo” means under and “meno” means to abide or remain.  Put them together and the word means, “to remain under.”

It’s also a favorite word in Scriptures, used 23 times.  It is usually translated with words like perseverance, steadfastness or endurance.

The apostle Paul taught Timothy, his apprentice, that hupomeno was something worth pursuit.

He wrote, “But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance (hupomeno) and gentleness.”  – 1 Timothy 6:11 NETBible ®

Paul gave us a list of sterling character qualities and added endurance to it. 

So necessary!  Think of a weightlifter who has hundreds of pounds suspended above his head.  If his willpower softens and his arms sag, he may be crushed.  He must firmly remain under it to succeed and to survive.    

We may not be weightlifters, but we all face weighty challenges that stand in our way and threaten to defeat us.

– a boss that fails to recognize the value we bring to the job

– a spouse that has withdrawn

– a stubborn health issue that will not be resolved

– an addiction that seems to be an excruciating everyday battle

– or may it just be a snowbound driveway

I had to push forward through bitter temperatures, an aching back and icy fingers, but my biggest obstacle, much like yours, was internal.  “I can’t do this.”  “This is just too much.”  “What difference will it make?” 

So how do we respond?  We stand up under the weight.  We push forward toward the end and briefly rest when we need.  We lean on the kindness of others and we ask God to infuse our hupomeno with His divine power. 

It took about 4 hours of shoveling (and at least 10 breaks) but between my homemade shovel, and my commitment to persevere – we got it done. 

May you get yours done as well. 

PS: Texas is still expecting some nasty, nasty weather.  My shovel is available to borrow! Hupomeno!

A PRAYER: God help me to push on when life pushes back.