And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance (Romans 5:3 NRSV): Literal translation – Not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.
Which is it - suffering or tribulation; endurance or perseverance?
Actually, they’re all one and the same thing. The key word here is patience: c. 1200 AD, from Old French pacience “patience; sufferance”, and directly from Latin patientia “the quality of suffering or enduring.” St Paul’s message is a plea for patience accompanied by a progression of its rewards, arriving at its ultimate destination – “God’s love that has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit”. A story:
An anxious patient, lying on her sickbed, turned to her doctor and asked: “Doctor, how long will I have to lie here and suffer?” “Just a day at a time”, replied the wise physician.
Just a day at a time: one of life’s most wonderful philosophies! Just a day at a time we will emerge from our current restrictions and we’ll be met by new burdens, duties, hopes, and fears. As we stand today on the brink of a new chapter in our life story, which, if it brings more uncertainty than clarity, will record great changes in the history of our country, in the history of us as families, individuals, and church, let’s not be dismayed or discouraged by the overwhelming extent of its possibilities. Rather, let’s find comfort and encouragement in the fact that God delivers the future in small pieces, in fact, “just a day at a time”.
We can’t live tomorrow today. Nor can we live next week tomorrow. But, with God’s help, we can bear the burdens and the challenges that come to us today.
We have God’s assurance that each day in the future will find us equipped with the amount of strength that will be necessary to bear its load, to endure its trial, to fight its battle and persevere. We have this assurance because we have a Friend who has promised to be with us in his love and his power “to the end of the age” – Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, whose own suffering produced endurance, endurance - character, character - hope, and hope. . . God’s love. We’ll win the race of faith patiently, Dear Saints, just one day at a time.
Wednesday May 27th 2020.